“The escalating professional skills shortage is another major impediment to the future development of the industry. It is a bizarre anomaly that in the midst of the nation’s biggest ever resources boom, university departments dedicated to minerals-related courses are closing.”
Catchpole said this was due to the inadequacy of the current formula that allocated funds on the basis of enrolment numbers. This had disadvantaged small, capital-intensive courses such as Mining Engineering and Geoscience.
“A new funding formula must recognise the diversity in location of these courses and the staffing numbers and costs of infrastructure required to teach them to the highest standard. Disciplines of national importance must be encouraged to expand to meet growing and sustained demand,” he said.