WA government awards scholarships for vital mining skills

The Western Australian government has today reaffirmed its commitment to developing mining skill-sets in the state, awarding two mining engineering and metallurgy scholarships.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said the scholarships would enable the winners to study at Curtin University’s Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) Kalgoorlie-Boulder campus for four years.

“I congratulate Calum Hill and Enrik Mundt being selected as the recipients of the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s 2013 scholarships, valued at $24,000 each,” he said.

“Both students demonstrated a great deal of passion and academic prowess and these scholarships will provide a unique opportunity for them to study at one of the world’s finest mining and minerals education facilities in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Moore said the government’s scholarship program is important for the ongoing growth of WA’s resource sector, helping to solidify the states position as the economic powerhouse of the nation for many years to come.

“It’s important to harness and support these kinds of educational pursuits, as today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders.”

The initiative was introduced in 1985 in order to attract high calibre students to WASM.

In the past four years the state government has invested more than $190,000 into the program.

With an unrelenting skills shortage affecting the country’s mining sector, up skilling youth with relevant qualifications is more important than ever.

The Minerals Council of Australia predicts the need for an additional 86,000 mining professionals and skilled mine workers by 2020.

While the remote location of mines poses a challenge when attempting to attract talent, it can be overcome with wage hikes.

However this can prove to be unsustainable solution for majors who cannot continue to increase salaries year on year, and for junior mining companies who cannot afford to fork out such exorbitant salaries in the first place.

Training local talent, sponsoring university programs, and cross training existing workers are all ways of recruiting whilst behaving in a socially responsible manner, Deloitte said in a statement.

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