Rio Tinto has introduced Australia’s first nationally recognised qualifications in automation to provide workers with skills in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industry.
The new certificate courses are the result of a collaboration between Western Australia’s resources sector including Rio Tinto, South Metropolitan TAFE and the Western Australian Government.
It is the first course to provide education pathways to jobs in the area of autonomous operations in the country and has been developed over the last year with the approval by the Training Accreditation Council WA.
A certificate two in autonomous workplace operations will be introduced to TAFE curriculum and piloted by a group of Rio Tinto’s iron ore workforce from August.
It will also be piloted for year 11 and 12 students in selected high schools across the state.
A ‘working effectively in an automated workplace’ micro-credential course for trade qualified, apprentices and technicians will also be available.
Rio Tinto is contributing up to $2 million to the development of the new qualifications with a certificate four in remote centre operations also in development.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury welcomed the announcement, saying that it would assist the country’s resource sector in preparing for the changing nature of the workforce.
“Mining has moved to become a genuine leader in innovative technology, and we recognise the critical need to provide effective education programs and opportunities to help our people succeed in this new era,” he said.
“We believe these courses will make a long-lasting and positive difference to the lives of many Australians, it will help ensure our industry remains globally competitive and is a leader in innovative technology.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan commented that the courses were a great example of industry working in partnership with government to ensure the state’s training sector creates a highly skilled workforce.
“These new courses will allow us to maintain our competitive advantage as a leader in automation technology in Australia and ensure local people have the skills for the new jobs that are being created through technological innovation,” he said.
“They will also ensure the diversification of our economy and help Western Australians assist the mining industry well into the future.”