BHP’s five-year commitment to fund 3500 new Australian apprenticeship and training positions and spend $450 million with the mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) sector is a huge boost for regional jobs and skills across Australia.
Along with the existing commitment by the Australian minerals industry to create more than 1000 apprenticeships in partnership with the Australian Government through the Mining Skills Organisation Pilot, this will mean that the industry will create close to 5000 new apprenticeships in the next few years, mostly in regional Australia.
BHP CEO Mike Henry said the major skills and technology package would be good for the company and good for the country, as Australia focuses on its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nearly $800 million package announced comprises three key elements to be deployed over the next five years:
- An increase of 2,500 apprenticeships and traineeships through the BHP FutureFit Academy, established earlier this year, with associated spend of $300 million.
- A further 1,000 skills development opportunities across a range of sectors in regional areas. BHP will invest $30 million and work with the Australian Government to create advanced apprenticeships and short courses in areas of potential future workforce demand.
- BHP will commit up to $450 million spend in contracts with Australian METS companies and further advancement of this sector. It will work directly and through its major technology providers to source more local products and services, and will invest in technology pilots and emerging businesses.
This is great news for communities and young people in the Pilbara, Bowen Basin, Hunter Valley and many other Australian mining regions. Regional Australian communities need more support as the nation rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic which has hit young Australians and their job prospects hard.
Australia’s minerals industry is supporting jobs and regional economies in their time of need.
In particular, the sector has sustained its backing for apprenticeships. The resources sector currently employs 8,836 apprentices and trainees.
And recent National Centre for Vocational Education Research figures show that while apprenticeships across all industries were down 11 per cent, the mining industry only experienced a 1.41 per cent decrease.
The success of Australia’s resources sector – including its ability to meet strong export demand – depends on a highly skilled workforce which is qualified and experienced in a range of scientific and environmental fields, professional occupations and trades.
Support for METS companies by BHP over five years will help to ensure a stronger, more efficient and technologically advanced minerals sector.
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