BHP has welcomed 250 apprentices and trainees into its ranks as part of a new national training program that will help to bolster Australia’s skills base and create new career pathways into the mining sector.
The training program, delivered through the new BHP FutureFit Academy, is being developed in conjunction with CQ University and North Metropolitan TAFE (Perth).
The first two campuses have been established at existing BHP warehouse and repair facilities in Mackay in Queensland and Welshpool (Perth) in Western Australia. To date, approximately 125 people have started their training in each facility.
BHP’s Acting President Operations Minerals Australia, Edgar Basto, said: “We are investing in the workforce of the future, and creating new employment opportunities in the communities where we operate. This new program will help develop Australia’s next generation of tradespeople and support local jobs.”
“We are proud to welcome our new group of apprentices and trainees, who will develop the skills necessary to harness advances in technology, automation and maintenance, and help to address Australia’s trade skills shortage.”
The BHP FutureFit Academy has been developed to provide a customised training pathway, utilising nationally recognised curricula for trade apprenticeships and maintenance traineeships.
Trade apprenticeships are initially being offered for heavy diesel fitters and mechanical fitters, with additional streams to be introduced according to business demand. In addition, the program is offering a new one-year Certificate II maintenance traineeship.
The program has the potential to be scaled up over time in line with business needs. The initial roll-out will be managed to ensure appropriate social distancing is maintained at each facility, along with other COVID-19 workplace requirements.
BHP’s Vice President Operations Services, Mark Swinnerton, said: “The BHP FutureFit Academy forges new ground, offering a tailored learning experience in purpose-built campuses that will ensure our graduates are skilled, competent and job-ready.”
“We are bringing the learning to the learner through real-life workshops and virtual reality simulation technology to provide robust, supported and intensive training in a safe, controlled and inclusive environment.”
“The new approach to training and employment opens the door to a more diverse talent pool, especially those from non-mining backgrounds who want to reskill or pursue a new career.”
Shannon Fentiman, Queensland Minister for Employment, Small Business, Training and Skills
“This is great news, we know we need more young Queenslanders to take up an apprenticeship or traineeship and BHP and CQU are doing fantastic work training our future diesel and mechanical fitters. Having large companies step up and provide training opportunities for Queenslanders will ensure we have the skilled workforce for jobs now and into the future.”
Peter Heilbuth, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Vocational Education and Training, CQ University said: “CQ University has a presence in every mainland state of Australia. This planned program will ensure that new training and job opportunities are available right here in Mackay, at a time when the region needs them most.”
North Metropolitan TAFE
Michelle Hoad, Managing Director, North Metropolitan TAFE said: “North Metropolitan TAFE has been working collaboratively with BHP on programs to develop a highly skilled and diverse workforce to support the recovery of our economy as we look beyond the current COVID-19 horizon.”