Pre-apprenticeships to combat mining’s skills shortage

The Queensland Government has revealed an employment-based pre-apprenticeship program set to help aspirants find their way into the mining industry.

In partnership with Queensland group training organisations (GTOs), the two-year $25 million Pre-Apprenticeship Support program will enable up-and-comers to choose three different vocational pathways – engineering, construction or hospitality.

In conducting a certificate I in either engineering or construction, the apprentice will get a taste for these sectors – both of which could lead to a career in the mining sector.

“A bunch of them will be related training pathways that people would need to work in the resources industry,” a Queensland Government spokesperson said.

“They’re entry-level qualifications in certificate I, but they’ll try out a bunch of different types of engineering and a bunch of different types of construction work to then work out which one they like the best, and then they’ll go on to do an apprenticeship in that one.”

Having completed the certificate I, the apprentice will then be supported into the mining sector if that’s something they want to do.

“They’ll be employed while they’re doing it, they’ll get paid while they’re doing it and then once they’ve completed the program successfully, they will be actively supported to transition into an apprenticeship directly with that training provider or another employer,” the spokesperson said.

The Queensland Government are working with seven GTOs as part of the pre-apprenticeship pathway, who will look to recruit just over 300 people aged between 15 and 24.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) offered its support for the program, saying it will assist the state’s resources industry combat its skills shortage woes.

“Skills shortages are the number one concern of our member CEOs, according to a recent QRC report and engineering is one of those critical shortage areas,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“With the halt on skilled migration because of COVID-19 restrictions, we are also experiencing a shortage of trades people, so we really welcome programs that encourage people to take up trade careers.”

QRC’s recent State of the Sector report, which coincided with the end of the June quarter, shone a light on the skills shortage issue, indicating job availability in the resources sector is growing at a rapid pace.

“Over the past five years, the number of jobs in Queensland’s resources sector has increased by more than two-thirds to a record high of almost 85,000 jobs in May 2021,” the report stated.

“The resources jobs growth, which has surged since COVID, is around six times the relative growth achieved across the rest of Queensland’s workforce over the same five years.”

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.