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CME welcomes BHP’s new apprenticeship, technology funding commitments

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) welcomes BHP’s announcement today of an $800 million funding package that will fund 3500 new Australian apprenticeships and drive up to $450 million in contracts with businesses involved in the mining, equipment, technology and services sector (METS).

The commitment will provide for an additional 2500 apprenticeships through the BHP FutureFit Academy and a further 1000 skills development opportunities across a range of sectors in regional areas, as BHP works with the Australian Government to create advanced apprenticeships and short courses in areas of potential future workforce demand.

The Academy apprenticeships will be split across campuses in Welshpool in Perth and Mackay in Queensland. CME Chief Executive Officer Paul Everingham said the commitment would help develop the types of skilled workers the WA mining and resources sector needed for the future.

“We welcome BHP’s commitment to its future workforce, providing local training and employment opportunities, and supporting the communities in which it operates,” Mr Everingham said.

“Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements across the WA resources sector have increased year-on-year for the past two years, and with initiatives like BHP’s expansion of the FutureFit Academy, we’d expect this trend to continue.

“The FutureFit Academy demonstrates a proactive approach to training, apprenticeships, ‘future-focused’ qualifications and state-of-the-art delivery modes.

“With more than $120 billion in mining and resources projects in the pipeline across WA and the technology involved in the sector evolving all the time, there is a strong need to develop the skilled workers of tomorrow.

“CME and its member companies will continue to work cooperatively with government and the training and education sector to provide apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for Western Australians young and old.”

Mr Everingham said BHP’s commitment to spending up to $450 million over five years in METS contracts with Australian businesses was another important investment in the future.

“Businesses that focus on the equipment, technology and innovation required by mining and resources operators are crucial to the future success of our sector,” Mr Everingham said.

“BHP’s commitment to these future contracts will help provide the certainty businesses need to invest in emerging technologies and pilot programs, and further increase employment opportunities in a METS sector that already employs some 300,000 Australians.

“Australia is an acknowledged leader in the METS sector but continued investment is needed to keep us there and, in turn, ensure our mining and resources operations stay globally competitive.”