NSW mining apprenticeships with BHP Billiton are attracting a lot of local attention, with over 1000 applicants.
There are many different types of apprenticeships available in the NSW mining sector – an electrical apprenticeship is one of them.
Over the years, the mining industry has suffered a chronic skills shortage. Highly trained and experienced workers are becoming more and more difficult to find. This has resulted in some mining companies preferring to use imported workers on 457 Visas over inducting young people in to a mining apprenticeship.
To bridge the gap between using imported labour and finding mining jobs for local workers, NSW mining apprenticeships go some way in solving the future ‘skills-gap’ shortage that has plagued the NSW coal mining industry.
BHP mining apprenticeships
It’s heartening to see younger people embarking on a career in the mining industry. Take Demi Frazer and Daniel Ellis who were two of eight new Upper Hunter apprentices inducted at Mt Arthur Coal last Friday. The BHP Billiton-operated coal mine has given many apprentices a start in the mining industry in NSW over recent years.
BHP Billiton`s open cut thermal coal mine at Mt Arthur claims to be the largest individual coal production site in the NSW Hunter Valley. Mt Arthur Coal currently produces approximately 16 million tonnes each year for local and international customers in the energy sector.
“plenty of opportunity to advance their careers in mining”
The young mining apprentices from Singleton, NSW were chosen from a pool of 1100 apprenticeship applicants and will now take part in the Mining Skills program which is conducted through Muswellbrook TAFE. At the end of their training they hope to emerge as fully qualified electricians, with plenty of opportunity to advance their careers in mining or other sectors.
“on-the-job training and learning”
Like any new mining apprenticeship, on-the-job training and learning is a fantastic way to gain knowledge about what it’s like to work in a mining environment. The two young apprentice electricians will partner up with qualified mentors for the first stage of their first year NSW mining apprenticeship.
Mining apprenticeships kick-start a solid career
NSW Energy Coal asset president Peter Sharpe said the comprehensive NSW mining apprenticeship program provides employment for local people who have decided to make mining not only a career, but a learning opportunity as well.
“a trade is something that will be invaluable”
“These young people are also provided with the chance to get a trade which is something that will be invaluable to them as they progress in their career,” he said.
Demi studied electro technology in high school and did her work experience with a local electrician and said she knew she wanted to follow a similar path during her career.
The new apprentices join with 34 second, third and fourth year NSW mining apprentices currently working and training with BHP Billiton at the Mt Arthur Coal mine.