New initiative to educate next generation of miners

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A new campaign has been launched as part of National Skills Week to educate school leavers about industry insights, related life skills and the different career paths into the mining industry.

A collaboration between the Mining Skills Organisation (MSO) and school-leaver service Year13, the initiative will engage young people directly through Year13’s current reach of schools and the 1.6 million young Australians who visit its site yearly.

The initiative will deliver free online learning modules relating to the mining industry represented by the MSO, which was established by the Australian Government in 2019 to deliver a stronger employer-led skills sector.

The MSO module explores the importance of mining in our day-to-day lives, and examines how technology is transforming jobs in the industry and the future employment opportunities that will be created from this.

The module also informs participants how the modern mining industry operates with many different avenues and career opportunities available in the sector.

The mining industry currently employs approximately 250,000 people. With the mining, equipment and technology (METS) sector on top of that, this grows to around 1.1 million people.

However, there have been reports of student and graduate shortages in tertiary mining courses.

Speaking at the launch of National Skills Week, BHP chief technical officer Laura Tyler said there were “barely 100” mining engineer graduates from Australian universities nationally in 2020.

This dropped from 333 mining engineer graduates in 2015, Tyler reported.

These findings were supported by a 2018 study from Monash University. The publication reported that, in 2017, 171 people were expected to graduate from Australian mining engineering courses.

Forecasts fell to 69 mining engineer graduates in 2019 and 47 in 2020, according to the Monash study.

Speaking in association with National Skills Week, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) said there needs to be improved efforts into mining recruitment.

“From the Pilbara to Bendigo and all points in between, Australian mining is hungry for the talent it needs to expand, extract and process our world-class minerals and remain competitive as our competitors surge back after the pandemic,” MCA chief executive officer Tania Constable said.

“Skills shortages have been a constant theme during the latest results reporting season as company after company has bemoaned the effect on production and threat to future developments.”

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