BMA builds Bowen Basin apprenticeship program

BMA operations. Image: BHP.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has welcomed a large intake of local apprentices to sites across the Bowen Basin, Queensland.

The initiative comes from a partnership with the Queensland Department of Education and Training, CQ University and the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network.

BMA asset president James Palmer is proud of the incoming recruits and their representation of local areas.

He said for BMA to remain a valued part of the Central Queensland community, it needed to provide opportunities throughout local regions for workers.

The apprenticeships show a commitment to this goal. In 2019, BMA has recruited 41 people into the apprenticeship cohort with hopes to expand.

Palmer said, “We have a great mix in this intake of apprentices from school leavers through to experienced workers, Indigenous people, men and women.”

This year’s group features apprentices from Moranbah (12), Dysart (5), Blackwater (4), Mackay (8), Rockhampton (3), Central Queensland (4) and Northern Queensland (4).

The cohort bring a variety of trade skills to BMA, including electricians, mechanics, diesel fitters, auto-electricians, mechanical fitters and boilermakers.

Caitlyn Barnes secured an electrical apprenticeship at BMA’s Goonyella Riverside mine by discovering career opportunities in the resources sector through the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA).

Barnes said, “I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge about the resources sector whilst gaining the qualification of my dreams. It’s going to give me a great head start in my career.”

The apprentices will complete a five-week work readiness course at the Coalfield Training Excellence Centre to prepare them with the skills and safety knowledge required to work on a mine site.

According to QS University Rankings, it’s a great time to break into the mining industry with Australia taking four out of the six best universities in the world for mineral and mining engineering training.

One thousand two hundred universities took part in the survey and 78 countries worldwide.

Furthermore, Australian universities are collaborating with major mining companies on a new $3.9 million government-funded training centre called the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ARC Training Centre).  It hopes to use data science to improve productivity and asset management in the resources industry.

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