BHP will fund 3500 new apprenticeship and training positions to support employment, business opportunities and skills development in the mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.
The major skills and technology package, which is worth nearly $800 million will comprise three key areas to be deployed over the next five years.
This includes an increase of 2500 apprenticeships and traineeships through BHP’s FutureFit Academy, 1000 further skills development opportunities in regional areas and spending up to $450 million in contracts with Australian METS companies.
BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry said the package would be good for the company and for the country as it recovered from the economical impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As Australia looks to rebuild its economy and provide jobs for the future, the mining industry has an important role to play as Australia’s biggest export earner employing hundreds of thousands of people,” Henry said.
“Providing apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for Australians of all ages and all walks of life, particularly in our regional communities, is a commitment we can make to help Australia bounce back.”
The investment in training and employment will create a pipeline of future talent in highly-skilled roles to deliver the world essential products, according to Henry.
BHP’s five-year commitment to apprenticeships and training programs received praise from Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable, who described it as “great news for communities and young people in Australian mining regions”.
“Australia’s minerals industry is supporting jobs and regional economies in their time of need,” Constable said.
“Regional Australian communities need more support as the nation rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic which has hit young Australians and their job prospects hard.”
The Australian resources sector currently employs 8836 apprentices and trainees.
In addition to BHP, the Australian Government has also moved to support jobs in the resources sector, launching its Mining Skills Organisation Pilot in partnership with the minerals industry.
This will create 1000 new apprenticeships in mostly regional areas of Australia, meaning the mining industry as a whole will create close to 5000 new apprenticeships in coming years.