From the Pilbara to north Queensland, thousands of apprentices and trainees across the country are getting their careers started in the minerals industry.
Apprentices make up approximately 4 per cent of Australia’s mining workforce, well above the all industries average of 2.5 per cent.
Most apprentices and trainees are based in regional areas, gaining in-demand skills which can be used across the wider economy.
While more than half of the approximately 8,000 minerals industry apprentices are in traditional trades such as metal, electrical and automotive, others are gaining vocational skills in areas as diverse as warehousing, as laboratory technicians and in business administration.
Major industry apprenticeship initiatives include the program at Mount Isa Mines, where Glencore hosts one of the largest private-sector apprenticeship programs in Queensland.
And the number of minerals industry apprentices continues to grow from this high base.
In Western Australia, BHP and Rio Tinto both recently announced they would double their 2018 apprentice and trainee intake – taking each company’s total number of apprentices and trainees in the state to 500.
However, formal apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities are just part of the story.
Mining invests five times more in training and skills development than other industries with 75 per cent of operators providing nationally recognised training for staff.
This commitment to training is just one element of the mining sector’s economic contribution with recent research showing the mining and mining services industries account for nearly 15 per cent of GDP and support more than 1.1 million jobs across Australia.