BMA recruits future workforce from QLD training centre

BMA's 2020 cohort of apprentices. Image: BHP.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has accepted its largest intake of apprentices in Queensland in recent years with 56 starting work at mines across the Bowen Basin.

BMA welcomed the apprentices at a ceremony at the Coalfield Training Excellence Centre in Moranbah before they officially started their careers with the company.

According to BMA asset president James Palmer, it is the company’s priority to employ local people to support the communities in which it operates.

Of this year’s intakes, 12 are from Moranbah, a further 12 are from greater Mackay, five hail from Rockhampton, four from Blackwater, four from Dysart and seven come from Central and North Queensland.

“Our apprenticeship program is one of the key ways we are investing in this region’s future,” Palmer said.

“We have a fantastic group of apprentices joining us this year, from school leavers through to experienced workers, Indigenous people, men and women.”

One of these new workers is Will Burgess from Moranbah, who has started an electrical apprenticeship at BMA’s Peak Downs coal mine.

“My apprenticeship is the first step on the career path I’ve always dreamed of,” Burgess said.

“It’s a privilege to be working at BMA, where I can access the best support and mentors on the road to becoming an electrician.”

After completing a six-week work readiness program at the Coalfield Training Excellence Centre, Burgess and his fellow 55 apprentices headed out on the job to various mines across the Bowen Basin on Monday.

Another path into careers with BHP is through the NTI program, which has been running at BHP Mitsui Coal (BMC)’s  Poitrel open cut coal mine in the Bowen Basin.

The program was started to engage Indigenous trainees but has been so successful that it has expanded to include all local trainees from communities in the Poitrel area.

Of the 80 trainees who have been through the program so far, 75 per cent were female, helping Poitrel improve gender diversity and Indigenous inclusion.

BMC general manager Sonia Winter at Poitrel said NTI trainees were some of the most engaged people on site, and she enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm they brought to the job.

“The program demonstrates the value that fresh eyes and fresh ideas bring to the mining industry,” Winter said.

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