Rio doubles its mining trainee program numbers

Rio Tinto has announced plans to expand its apprenticeship and trainee programs to meet the demands of its future expansions.

It comes after Rio already expanded numbers last year.

Rio's chief of Pilbara iron ore operations, Greg Lilleyman, said the high demand for mining jobs, the economic environment, and industry competition has provided the impetus for the latest trainee intake increase.

"We are acutely aware of our responsibility to train and develop from within our own ranks and the communities surrounding our operations, and we take this responsibility very seriously," Lilleyman said.

"The current skills shortage and resulting focus on skills development creates the perfect conditions by which to promote innovative training business cases and to take bold steps in terms of investment."

The miner is planning to train at least an extra 120 apprentices over the next year.

These workers will join the current 310 apprentices and 403 trainees already working within Rio's program.

In 2011, Rio first decided to move its apprenticeship and trainee programs in-house, including the 145 that were underway at the time.

Within six months the miner saw this number leap to 310.

Lilleyman explained that Rio "spends more than $85 million a year on its training programs in Western Australia, with about 700 employees actively involved in conducting training or assessing skills.

"We currently have 6.4% of our total workforce under a trainee or apprenticeship program," he added.

There are now five dedicated regional training facilities: Dampier, Cape Lambert, Paraburdoo, Tom Price, and the new 'Kuttajin Borne' facility at Belmont.

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