The announcement by the Australian Government to invest and support skills development through the $2 billion JobTrainer package will assist Australia’s resources and energy employers to lead the economic recovery from the COVID-19 health pandemic.
Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA welcomed the government investing in 100,000 extra apprentices and $500 million to train or reskill 340,000 school leavers and people unemployed.
“This will assist in arresting the sliding number of apprentices and trainees, but longer-term will help more Australians access diverse, highly-paid and rewarding careers within the resources and energy industry,” AMMA Director Operations, Tara Diamond, said.
Ms Diamond cautioned that for the funding to deliver long-term positive outcomes for both employees and employers, it must be targeted to address key areas of skills demand and shortages.
“Understanding and pinpointing the areas of current and future workforce demand must be a priority for the government’s new skills package,” she said.
“Employers want to know specifically how the type of training is determined and what modelling will be used to identify the skills most in demand.”
An AMMA Workforce Modelling report, released a few months prior to COVID-19, estimated that new resources and energy projects would create around 21,000 new long-term jobs in the resources and energy industry by 2024.
While the economic environment has changed markedly, Ms Diamond said this modelling provides strong insight into what occupations in the resources and energy sector will become in demand.
“The pre-COVID workforce modelling showed likely demand for 8,660 mining equipment operators, 2,847 heavy diesel fitters and 970 other tradespeople across electrical, mechanical and maintenance trades,” she said.
“This is just operating roles in the mining industry over the next four years. Factoring in construction trades required to build new resources and major public infrastructure projects, and the demands will be far greater.
“More trainees and apprentices with the right skills in the right areas, will be critical for our nation’s economic recovery.
“Additionally, this focus on apprenticeships cannot afford to leave females behind. As we know the majority of trade apprenticeships are males – we must equally encourage both males and females to be skilled and up-skilled in trades.”