Feb 28, 2019

BMA welcomes new crop of apprentices

BMA welcomes new crop of apprentices Apprentice Rebecca Wheeler with Mike Fidel, the general manager at BMA's Broadmeadow mine.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance has welcomed 41 apprentices at its sites across the Bowen Basin as part of its 2019 intake.

BMA asset president James Palmer said it was critical BMA’s workforce was constructed from a solid foundation of local people.

“For BMA to continue being a valued part of the Central Queensland community, we need to support it, and creating jobs in the region is one of the important ways we are doing that,” Mr Palmer said.

“We have a great mix in this intake of apprentices, from school leavers through to experienced workers, indigenous people, men and women.

“We see them as critical to the future of our business in the region.”

Among the 16 female apprentices is Rebecca Wheeler, who has commenced a diesel fitter apprenticeship at BMA’s Blackwater mine, after finishing Year 12 last year at Blackwater State High School.

“I can’t believe how fortunate I am to start the beginning of my adult life with such an amazing opportunity, landing  an apprenticeship at BMA,” Ms Wheeler said.

The apprentices will complete a five-week work readiness program at the Coalfield Training Excellence Centre tomorrow to equip them with the skills required to work at mine sites, with a heavy emphasis on safety.

The program is run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council. 

QRC’s director of skills education and diversity, Katrina-Lee Jones, said she was pleased to see women make up almost 50 per cent of BMA’s apprentices, with QRC and QMEA striving to increase the proportion of women in “non-traditional” roles across the state, including trades, to at least 20 per cent by 2020. 

“Currently that figure is 14 per cent, up from 6 per cent in 2016,” Ms Jones said.

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