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