NSW Nationals Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen joined with local apprentices at Muswellbrook TAFE to announce that the Hunter region was expected to experience the highest employment growth to 2021.
The projected 4.2 per cent growth was due to a strong mining sector and related industries.
Mr Johnsen said 32 local apprentices would take advantage of the opportunities this presented by embarking on a learning journey in the TAFE NSW Muswellbrook Mining Skills Program.
“Now in its 14th year, the program is a unique offering that complements the course delivery for trade qualifications in electro-technology, engineering- mechanical trade and mobile plant technology,” Mr Johnsen said. “The Nationals in Government support the future of one the region’s most important industries with its Mining Skills Program at TAFE NSW.”
The 25 mining projects in the NSW planning system have the potential to deliver almost $11 billion in investment over the next 20 years, and nine are in the Hunter region pipeline, according to NSW Mining. These alone have the potential to deliver more than $1.5 billion in investment and 3400-plus jobs.
Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen
The Mining Skills Program’s effectiveness over the past 13 years is due to tight partnerships with some of the Hunter region’s biggest employers. TAFE NSW works closely with them to ensure it gives local apprentices the abilities and knowledge needed to be job-ready, to smoothly transition into a career in industry.
“Our Upper Hunter electorate is home to world class mines, wines, equines and bovines, and we are fortunate to have a diversified job sector for our young people to enter into,” Mr Johnsen said. “It is critical our local job-seekers have access to high quality education and training if we are to develop the next generation of industry leaders, especially in the mining industry. That new companies have joined the program in recent years, expanding its focus on the mining sector into related supply chain industries, is a testament to the teaching excellence of TAFE NSW.”
Employer participants include 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 aforementioned companies.
The intensive student training is conducted from the purpose-built Mining Skills Centre at TAFE NSW Muswellbrook. The unique facility delivers real-world practical experience and a solid understanding of how to be a safe, work-ready apprentice. Students receive an overall education about coal mining while studying the fundamentals of four trade areas: machining, electrical, metal fabrication and automotive. They also learn about financial awareness, health and nutrition, drug and alcohol safety, fatigue management and road safety.
Every apprentice will graduate with a tremendous opportunity to move into a career locally, either in mining or a related industry.