New apprentices for Mount Isa Xstrata

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Xstrata Mount Isa Mines has announced the arrival of 58 new entrants to its apprenticeship program.

According to The North West Star Xstrata Skills Centre superintendent Dave Watson said applications for the program were far higher than last year.

"We received 700 applications for the 2012 intake of apprentices, which was almost double the number of applicants from the previous year," he said.

Watson said 70 per cent of the new apprentices were locals from Mount Isa, with the program providing a boost to the local economy.

The group of 58 was made up from 14 diesel fitters, 16 electrical fitter mechanics, 12 fitter and turners, eight boilermakers, four auto electricians, two radio technicians and two refrigeration mechanics.

According to The North West Star the apprentices will spend their first year at the Xstrata Skills Centre in Mount Isa.

The remainder of the apprenticeship will be spent rotating through different workplaces to maximise their experience in the industry.

The company said it was also employing 20 school-based trainees to undertake a Certificate 2 in Surface Extraction Operations.

The training will get students qualified to work on site and give them an idea of the work involved in each trade.

In December the Government said it was looking to increase the completion rates of apprentices by reforming wages.

Some apprentices earn as little as $10 an hour, with the pay being blamed for an alarmingly low completion rate.

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