Komatsu training facility fights WA skills shortage

Komatsu

The training facility has been in the works at Komatsu for three years, and construction will be complete in 2022. Image: Komatsu

Komatsu has revealed plans to build a $6 million training facility in Perth, with completion scheduled before mid-2022 to help alleviate Western Australia’s skills shortage.

The announcement came as the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) doubled its annual investment into training – now totalling $12 million.

The Komatsu-funded facility is expected to be built on the current greenfield site by the middle of 2022, in Welshpool, south-east of Perth.

Komatsu western regional general manager Glenn Swift said the facility was equally inspired by Komatsu’s issue with talent shortages as it was by the state’s own woes.

“Our WA operation works heavily with the mining industry, where a large portion of the workforce are interstate fly-in, fly-out workers,” Swift said.

“While border closures meant many were unable to fly in, the general uncertainty of the pandemic left many experienced and skilled workers opting to stay closer to home – placing even greater pressure on the existing skills shortage.”

The Welshpool facility will cater to all levels of career development, ensuring the state can provide opportunities for generations of skilled employment.

In line with this future focus and Komatsu’s position as a leader in autonomous haulage, the facility will be highly interactive and technically advanced for as many fields as the future holds.

Komatsu constructed a similar facility in Brisbane in 2013, which the west coast hub will look to complement.

Komatsu Training Academy general manager Janine Gurney said her program would offer qualifications at the facility in engineering, civil construction, automotive and mobile plant technology, as well as autonomous workplace and remote operations.

“Our award-winning apprenticeship training scheme aims to deliver not just the technical training, but also gives apprentices essential life skills, so that new industry entrants have both the life and personal-responsibility skills and awareness, as well as the essential trade skills,” Gurney said.

“The innovative program has reportedly achieved measurable results, with apprentices being six months ahead of their peers doing traditional apprenticeships and have a one-year advantage at the completion of their training.”

Komatsu aims to train 500 apprentices over the coming three to four years, while maintaining a 94 per cent retention rate.

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