Rio Tinto has partnered with the Western Australian Government and South Metropolitan TAFE over the implementation of new automation courses, which are set to begin in WA-based TAFE colleges and high schools from 2019.
The collaboration, which will take the form of a Western Australian vocational education and training (VET) alliance, will help to develop course curriculum and ensure Certificate II (for secondary students) and IV (tertiary) courses are relevant across general industry.
These certificates will represent Australia’s first nationally accredited courses in automation. The alliance will be chaired by Jim Walker, formerly a chief executive officer of WestTrac Group and national president of the Australian Institute of Management, and current chairman of the WA State Training Board.
“Automation, technology and innovation will transform a range of industries and create new opportunities, and we need to be ahead of the curve to ensure our workforce can take advantage of that,” said WA Education and Training Minister, Sue Ellery.
“By partnering directly with industry, we can ensure the new curriculum futureproofs jobs by training Western Australians with the skills we know industry will need.”
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury explained that WA was a global leader in automation, something that positioned the region to take advantage of automation opportunities for the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses (STEM) as well as the state economy.
“The courses will also be consistent with the priority the state government is placing on STEM and will help build a much-needed bridge between STEM in education and STEM in the workplace,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to these courses being made available to Western Australians to acquire new skills, improve their capability and build confidence in working alongside technology.”
Dave Kelly, WA Minister for Water; Fisheries; Forestry; Innovation and ICT; Science, said that a statewide STEM strategy was a priority for WA’s McGowan Government in order to ensure Western Australians could be afforded equal opportunities for jobs in future.
“However, a ‘STEM ready’ WA workforce cannot be delivered by government alone,” he explained. “This is why this initiative by Rio Tinto, working with TAFE, is so important.”