NSW manufacturers fearful of losing skilled workers to mining industry

Manufacturers in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley region say they are fearful for the future of manufacturing in the area unless more young people get into the industry.

According to a report from the ABC, the chair of the Hunter Manufacturing Association, Bob Cowan, said the mining industry is poaching workers from manufacturing companies, who come prepared with trade skills.

Cowan says he is concerned for the future of manufacturing in the Hunter region, which currently has a strong manufacturing and mining base.

"This is the fear, we certainly have some good programs for apprentices, but we’re not getting enough young people wanting to be in the trades," he said, quoted in the ABC report.

"They’re looking for the quick dollar in the mining industry.

"At the end of the day, if we don’t have young people coming through wanting to be in a trade, then our manufacturing industry is in serious trouble, and we’ll just fill up with imports."

The news report comes as the manufacturing industry is gearing up for the Future Jobs Forum this Thursday – a government initiative designed to give Australia’s manufacturing community some hard answers to the skills crisis it’s currently facing.

The forum will take place at Parliament House, and will be attended by unions, academics, businesses and government bodies.

Meanwhile, training programs are popping up to target ex-manufacturing workers wanting to make a career jump to the mining industry.

Manufacturing, civil construction and defence force workers are being targeted to join the first ever adult apprenticeships for the resources and energy sector.

The National Apprenticeships Program (NAP), offered by Queensland’s SkillsTech Australia in collaboration with national training organisations, is designed to attract skilled workers to the booming sector.

The apprenticeships are for adults over 25 years old with some technical background in the trade who are granted advanced entry introduction to the course.

Six trades are offered: Electrical Fitter Mechanic, Dual Trade Electrical/Instrumentation, Metal Fabrication Boiler Maker Welder, Metal Fabrication Pipe Fitter, Engineering Diesel Fitter and Carpentry Form worker.

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