Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has praised BHP’s new train driver training program as it decreases the state’s reliance on interstate fly-in, fly-out workers while enhancing local training and creating regional jobs.
This week BHP welcomed the first 54 recruits in the company’s Rail Academy Traineeship Program that seeks to employ and train 200 train drivers over the next three years.
BHP Western Australian Iron Ore (WAIO) asset president Brandon Craig said the company was committed to doing its part to address critical skills shortages and create new pathways for people to enter the mining industry.
“This $20 million investment will advance the skills base in rail, and train the next generation of train drivers,” Craig said.
“Our train drivers are a vital part of our pit to port value chain and the new traineeships will create rewarding careers for our new recruits.
“The program also demonstrates our commitment to create jobs and prosperity in regional WA, with the training based at our rail headquarters in Port Hedland.”
McGowan said the WA Government will continue to work closely with industry to develop opportunities to build Western Australia’s workforce – to create local jobs and continue to support the growth of the state’s resources sector.
“I commend BHP for investing in WA jobs with this local training program – which has strong alignment with my Government’s WA Jobs Plan,” he said.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the government welcomes any efforts by the mining industry to extend the benefits delivered by the resources sector to provide jobs and training opportunities for more Western Australians.
The WA Government also announced work is now underway on stage one of road and rail improvements in Port Hedland, which is fully funded by BHP and delivered by the government through Main Roads WA.
The $31.48 million contract, awarded to the Highway Construction-Albem Operations joint venture, will deliver the Buttweld Road ‘road-over-rail’ bridge near Port Hedland.
Craig said the company is committed to the Pilbara region.
“This funding package will improve safety at our level rail crossings and provide jobs to the local community while allowing travel around Port Hedland to become more efficient,” Craig said.
“There is nothing more important to BHP than the safety of our people and the community – we welcome the opportunity to work with the State Government and Main Roads on this important safety initiative.”