With the solid position of the Hunter’s mining Industry local employers have given 28 apprentices the opportunity to kick-start their careers with the award-winning Mining Skills Program at TAFE NSW Muswellbrook.
The 15-week Program is designed for first year apprentices and places a strong emphasis on safety awareness. The Program recently commenced for the 12th consecutive year and covers training in basic hand tool skills across four different trades including Electrical, Fitting and Machining, Metal Fabrication and Welding, and Automotive.
TAFE NSW, Industry and Resources Faculty Director Sonia Liddiard believes the healthy enrolment figures are a key indicator of the strength of the local mining industry and their commitment to providing their apprentices with the highest-quality skills training to ensure they are ready for work on a mine site upon completion.
“The Mining Skills Program is effective because we continually engage a cross-section of stakeholders to ensure we address evolving industry requirements in the course syllabus and ultimately provide the local industry with a job-ready workforce,” said Ms Liddiard.
“TAFE NSW takes pride in our close collaboration with council, industry and the community to identify current and future skills in demand, so we can be flexible and responsive to the needs of the Upper Hunter community. This program is just one example of how collaboration with industry can provide positive outcomes for employers, students and the community as a whole.”
“This year enrolments in the Mining Skills Program are up 16%. 10 of our 28 apprentices are female and we are thrilled the program continues to attract both male and female apprentices, which demonstrates the local industries commitment to equal opportunity,” she said.
The Program continues to capture the interest of industry partners including Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia’s Muswellbrook Branch, which recently joined the program as an apprentice employer.
Paul Howard, Apprentice Master at Hitachi Construction Machinery (Australia) Pty Ltd
said the company is “always looking to improve the training and development we currently provide to staff. We chose to work with Muswellbrook TAFE and the Mining Skills program to ensure new apprentices are equipped with the best quality training, to instill a confident and job-ready attitude for their first day on site.”
“We have three new apprentices who have commenced the Mining Skills Program in 2017, and look forward to continuing this great partnership in the years to come,” said Mr Howard.
To support graduates of the Mining Skills Centre and encourage them to advance their career with a post trade qualification with TAFE NSW, the Mining Electrical and Mining Mechanical Engineering Society
(MEMMES) has worked with the Hunter TAFE Foundation to establish two annual Scholarships. The MEMMES Scholarships will support one electrical graduate and one mechanical graduate, providing them with financial support to assist them with further education and training.