Mining company BHP Mitsubishi Alliance, TAFE Queensland and CQUniversity have announced a multimillion-dollar skills partnership to support the introduction of new technology in mining.
The Queensland Future Skills Partnership will help fast-track the development and delivery of new autonomy related qualifications in open-cut mining operations in Queensland.
It comes after BMA asset president James Palmer last month told a networking lunch in Mackay of the potential for BHP to expand its autonomous haulage operations to up to 500 trucks across its open-cut coal and iron ore mines.
Mr Palmer said today the new skills partnership would define the first wave of new skills that may be required to support technology advances and establish opportunities for individuals to acquire these skills.
“Our operations are cutting edge, and we need to stay ahead of the curve,” he said.
“The scope of training to be delivered through the partnership is still being finalised but we are exploring the potential opportunity for a traineeship qualification in autonomous operations, expanding existing trade apprenticeships to include autonomous competencies as well as an entry pathway for autonomous mine controllers.
“We also hope to be able to deliver the first pilot of these programs in the Bowen Basin region near our operations, expanding both existing and future workforce as well as local schools.”
TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mary Campbell said the partnership would be important in preparing Queensland’s future workforce.
“We talk about the workforce of the future and what we will need in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time, but that future is now,” she said.
“This partnership gives us an opportunity to work with industry and employers to deliver a range of flexible skilling solutions to ensure employment outcomes for Industry 4.0 jobs of the future.”
The Queensland Future Skills Partnership will start work later this month with its first steering committee meeting scheduled for late August 2019, at the CQUniversity Mackay Ooralea campus.