Rio to in­struct on au­to­ma­tion

North West Telegraph - - Front Page - Michael Fer­rante

The next phase of the re­sources in­dus­try’s shift to­wards greater ef­fi­ciency was launched at Scitech last week, with Rio Tinto an­nounc­ing a part­ner­ship with South Metropoli­tan TAFE to es­tab­lish na­tion­ally ac­cred­ited courses in au­to­ma­tion from 2019.

A cur­ricu­lum will be de­vel­oped through the WA VET Col­lab­o­ra­tion al­liance, led by State Train­ing Board chair­man Jim Walker, with in­put from the min­ing and re­sources in­dus­try for Aus­tralia’s first au­to­ma­tion qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

A Cer­tifi­cate II course will be aimed pri­mar­ily at Year 11 and 12 vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing stu­dents from next year.

The schools to be in­volved have not yet been cho­sen but Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Min­is­ter Sue Ellery said dis­cus­sions with schools were hap­pen­ing now to gauge interest.

She said all schools could par­tic­i­pate and she ex­pected schools in ar­eas such as the Pil­bara, where re­sources com­pa­nies op­er­ated, would em­brace it.

A Cer­tifi­cate IV course will be of­fered through TAFE for those want­ing to re-skill.

Rio iron ore chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Salisbury said the course was a pro­gres­sion from an “au­to­ma­tion path­way” the com­pany had been on for more than a decade.

“We know, talk­ing to our em­ploy­ees, what’s miss­ing is for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tions . . . that are na­tion­ally ac­cred­ited and trans­portable and that’s what we’re keen to do,” he said.

“We see an ad­van­tage in cre­at­ing this cur­ricu­lum and we’re pleased to have kick­started it.”

He said au­to­ma­tion was about im­prov­ing safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity but con­ceded some jobs would be lost in the tran­si­tion to au­to­ma­tion while oth­ers would be cre­ated.

“Au­to­ma­tion is about im­prov­ing safety, im­prov­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­duc­ing costs — we need to do that to stay glob­ally com­pet­i­tive,” he said. Ms Ellery said the col­lab­o­ra­tion was geared to equip­ping the work­force to be ready to meet the job needs of the future, in­clud­ing other sec­tors such as aged care.

She said those in their 30s and 40s, in­clud­ing those who had lost their jobs, could also ben­e­fit.

Rio Tinto has con­trib­uted $2 mil­lion to­wards the new train­ing pro­gram.

The State Gov­ern­ment will con­trib­ute to the course through its fund­ing of TAFE col­leges.

Mr Walker said train­ing pack­ages were “mo­bile” and able to be adapted to use in other in­dus­tries.

He said one of the first in­dus­tries con­sid­ered for in­clu­sion in the next stage would be health care.

Pic­ture: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg

Au­to­ma­tion at mine sites is about im­prov­ing safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity, Rio iron ore chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Salisbury says.

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