Partnership delivers customised training for Pilbara lithium project

  • North Metropolitan TAFE (NMT) delivering customised training for Pilbara Minerals’ new major lithium development project
  • Shows ability of the vocational education and training (VET) sector to respond to industry demand

North Metropolitan TAFE has partnered with Pilbara Minerals to develop and deliver bespoke training for operation staff on the Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project.

To ensure Pilbara Minerals’ employees were job ready ahead of the commissioning of the project, a high-quality training program was developed by NMT.

The Pilbara Minerals employees were trained earlier this year in the theory component over an intense two-week training period at NMT’s East Perth campus.

They are now completing the practical component of their training on site at the Pilgangoora mine. NMT lecturers will head to the site later this year to assess the students. Once assessed as competent, the employees will receive a Certificate III in Resource Processing.

This partnership supports the McGowan Labor Government’s Lithium Taskforce’s objective to capitalise on WA’s potential and create jobs for Western Australians.

As stated by Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:

“This is a great example of the responsiveness of the VET sector to provide timely customised training that supports industry to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

“TAFE WA is helping companies like Pilbara Minerals develop the State’s world-leading lithium industry, which creates jobs for Western Australians.

“Our training sector has worked hard to be innovative, responsive and agile to support Western Australia’s unique and dynamic economy and it’s encouraging to see the benefits of this work realised.”

As stated by Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:

“WA is the world’s leading producer of lithium and the Pilbara is uniquely placed to capitalise on the rising growth of battery use and technologies.

“Last financial year, lithium sales in Western Australia reached $1.6 billion and the sector employed more than 1,200 people.

“It is expected more Pilbara Minerals employees will participate in the training program following on from the success of this program, which could also be replicated across other mining companies, to lead to more local jobs in this emerging sector.”

As stated by Pilbara Minerals chief operating officer, Dale Henderson:

“By working with NMT, Pilbara Minerals was able to tailor the training program to make it relevant to the specific mineral processes used at the Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project; ensuring trainees were job ready prior to mobilisation to site.

“As an emerging industry in Western Australia, Pilbara Minerals identified some gaps when it came to specific training and qualifications for lithium processing. NMT identified the gaps within its current program and worked closely with Pilbara Minerals to fill these gaps, and develop relevant course material so employees were qualified to commence immediately on site.

“Now developed, this program can be used widely across the lithium industry to prepare the workforce of the future.

“Having trainees that are suitably qualified and job ready delivers significant benefits to a company such as ours, as it reduces the downtime associated with having to spend time on-the-job trying to fill large knowledge gaps and increases trainees’ confidence by being familiar with the processes on site.”

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