The release today of the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency’s (AWPA) latest report on the resources sector’s skilled labour needs confirms that mining will continue to expand in the years ahead, providing a critical boost to the domestic economy.

The AWPA’s Resources Sector Skills Needs 2013 report shows that minerals industry operations will need around 18,000 more skilled workers through to 2018 – as the sector moves from the construction to production phase of the millennium mining boom.

The minerals industry has strong skills foundations in place and welcomes AWPA’s acknowledgement of the sector’s focus on the skilling and development of its workforce. This includes:

  • Spending 5.5 per cent of payroll on training activities, with one in twenty employees being an apprentice or a trainee;
  • the contribution to higher education outcomes, with the MCA-operated Minerals Tertiary Education Council (MTEC) contributing $36 million since 1999 to tertiary minerals disciplines;
  • Innovative efforts to overcome skills shortages via:
    • the MTEC Associate Degree program, designed to free up the time of engineers and geologists by producing a new cadre of educated technicians, who will have pathways to full degree status;
    • programs to cross-train workers in different industry disciplines such as the MCA/NFF/Commonwealth Skills MOU and the Regional Agriculture and Mining Integrated Training Initiative
  • Efforts to encourage under-represented groups to take part in the industry – specifically the increase in indigenous participation (at 3.1 per cent, the highest workforce participation rate of all industries) and women (an increase in the percentage of female participants in the minerals workforce from 11 per cent in 2003 to 16 per cent in August 2013).
  • The importance of Long Distance Commuting and skilled migration to the skills needs of the industry.

The AWPA report is available from http://www.awpa.gov.au or contactus@awpa.gov.au

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