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Of all NSW north coast regions, the Hunter Valley is expected to experience the highest employment growth between 2018 and 2021, of 4.1%*. This is likely due, in part, to the mining sector and related industries.
The 25 mining projects in the NSW planning system as at the end of last year have the potential to deliver almost $11bn in investment over the next 20 years, and nine are in the Hunter region pipeline**. These alone have the potential to deliver over $1.5bn in investment and 3400-plus jobs.
32 new apprentices from the Hunter will take advantage of the opportunities this presents by embarking on a learning journey in the TAFE NSW Muswellbrook Mining Skills Program, which kicked off last week. In its 14th year, the program is a unique offering that complements the course delivery for trade qualifications in the electro-technology, engineering- mechanical trade and mobile plant technology disciplines.
TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Susie George says its effectiveness is due to a close collaboration with some of the Hunter’s biggest companies, including AGL Macquarie, Bengalla Mining Company, BHP-Mount Arthur, Hitachi Construction Machinery, Port Waratah Coal Services and Yancoal-Mount Thorley Warkworth. Programmed and MIGAS are also involved, providing training funding for the apprentices who then secure employment with the afore-mentioned companies.
“In developing the next generation of mining industry leaders, it is critical that job-seekers have access to high quality education and training,” says Ms George.
“TAFE NSW works closely with some of the Hunter’s biggest employers to ensure we give apprentices the abilities, knowledge and ‘seam to sea’ exposure they need to smoothly transition into a career in industry.
“The tight partnerships TAFE NSW has with these industry-leading companies enable us to design a course that delivers the expertise and know-how they require to ensure apprentices are job ready. We continue to develop and adapt our program every year to suit, with that flexibility ensuring we remain highly relevant.
“New companies have joined the program in recent years, expanding its focus on the mining sector into related supply chain industries. We are delighted to see interest growing as the years progress.”
Training is conducted from the unique, purpose-built Mining Skills Centre at TAFE NSW Muswellbrook. It delivers real-world practical experience and a thorough understanding of how to be a safe, work-ready apprentice. Students receive an overall education about coal mining while studying fundamentals of the four trade areas of machining, electrical, metal fabrication and automotive. They also learn about financial awareness, health and nutrition, drug and alcohol safety, fatigue management and road safety awareness.
Each apprentice will graduate with a solid opportunity to move into a career in mining or a related industry.
For more information on TAFE NSW courses visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.
* TAFE NSW Strategy, February 2017
Media contact: Kristy Sheppard, TAFE NSW Media & Communications Business Partner, 4923 7784 or 0407 450 860.