Mining industry celebrates TAFE graduates

More than 100 guests from across the region’s mining industry celebrated the successes of 27 apprentices at the TAFE NSW 2017 Mining Skills Presentation.

In its 12th year, the programme – which was celebrated at Muswellbrook RSL last Thursday – has seen a 16 per cent rise in enrolments and has welcomed a new employer partner, Hitachi Construction Machinery.

Designed for first-year apprentices in partnership with the mining industry, the 15-week programme places a strong emphasis on safety awareness to prepare them for work on-site.

The course delivered by TAFE NSW Muswellbrook covers training in basic hand tool skills across four different trades including electrical, fitting and machining, metal fabrication and welding, and automotive.

“At TAFE NSW we are passionate about developing the skills and capabilities of our local workforce and understand the impact this has on shaping the future of the region,” said Elizabeth McGregor, TAFE NSW’s regional north general manager.

“This graduation is an important milestone for our ambitious first-year Mining Skills Centre apprentices as they embark on the next steps of their careers in the region’s mining industry.”

MIGAS plant mechanic apprentice Christopher Scriven was recognised on the evening with the Highest Achiever Award for his dedication to work at Bengalla Mine, approach to study, and attaining the highest overall grade throughout the program.

Plant mechanic apprentices Jessica Bonnici and Jackson Hopkins were both presented with Outstanding Student awards for their application to their studies.

Bonnici is an apprentice with Programmed and employed by Coal and Allied, while Hopkins is employed as an apprentice at BHP Mt Arthur Coal.

The evening included the presentation of the annual MEMMES Scholarships awarded to BHP Mt Arthur Coal electrical apprentice Blake Pickham and plant mechanic Bradley Kirkwood.

Both tradesmen have ambitions to pursue further study with TAFE NSW to enhance their skills and knowledge and advance their careers in the Upper Hunter’s mining industry.

The scholarship was established by the Mining Electrical and Mining Mechanical Engineering Society and provides financial assistance to past Mining Skills Program graduates who are pursuing post-trade qualifications in order to advance their careers in the industry.

Qualified electrician Eila Mills was awarded a highly commended for her commitment to education and training.

The 23-year-old is in the third year of her apprenticeship and has already committed to undertaking post-trade qualifications, having commenced her Certificate IV in Industrial Electronics and Control this year.

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