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This article first appeared on The Australian Mining Review on 7/10/20. Read the full story here.

 

New positions available in Western Australia miningBHP will train and fund 3500 new Australian apprenticeship and training positions, driving up to $450m into supporting business opportunities in Australia’s mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.

BHP CEO Mike Henry said the major skills and technology package would be good for the company and good for the country, as Australia focuses on its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nearly $800m package comprises three key elements to be deployed over the next five years:

  • An increase of 2500 apprenticeships and traineeships through the BHP FutureFit Academy, established earlier this year, with associated spend of $300m.
  • A further 1000 skills development opportunities across a range of sectors in regional areas. BHP will invest $30m and work with the Australian Government to create advanced apprenticeships and short courses in areas of potential future workforce demand.
  • BHP will commit up to $450m spend in contracts with Australian METS companies and further advancement of this sector. It will work directly and through its major technology providers to source more local products and services, and will invest in technology pilots and emerging businesses.

“As Australia looks to rebuild its economy and provide jobs for the future, the mining industry has an important role to play as Australia’s biggest export earner employing hundreds of thousands of people,” Mr Henry said.

“The mining and METS sector is a critical pillar of our economy, and it has never been more important than now.

“Providing apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for Australians of all ages and all walks of life, particularly in our regional communities, is a commitment we can make to help Australia bounce back.

“These investments will create a pipeline of future talent in highly skilled roles, working in an industry that delivers essential products to the world and generates export dollars that keep the Australian economy strong.”

BHP employs about 45,000 people in Australia, and in the 2020 financial year contributed about $33.4b in economic value through jobs, suppliers, taxes, royalties and community investments.

BHP accelerated payments and reduced payment terms for small suppliers during the peak of the pandemic, hired an additional 1500 people on temporary contracts to support its Australian operations, created a $6m fund to support labour hire companies and their employees, and established the $50m Vital Resources Fund to support regional communities.

 

BHP FutureFit Academy

BHP will create 2500 new apprenticeship and traineeship positions over the next five years through the BHP FutureFit Academy, established in March this year, with associated spend of $300 million.

Places would be split between the Academy’s campuses in Mackay in Queensland and Welshpool in WA.

Apprenticeships are on offer for heavy diesel fitters and mechanical fitters, with the program also offering a one-year Certificate II maintenance traineeship. Training is delivered in conjunction with CQ University and North Metropolitan TAFE (Perth). To date, more than 450 people have enrolled.

 

METS Sector

BHP has identified a package of $450m that it could bring to bear to support METS sector growth in Australia, including new BHP contracts with Australian suppliers, working with its major technology providers to source more local products or work, and new investments in technology pilots and emerging businesses.

 

Regional Skills Development

BHP is in working with the Federal Department of Education Skills and Employment in relation to the Future of Work Partnership program.

This program will involve working with the tertiary sector to create opportunities for up to 1000 people over the next five years in regional areas to receive skills and training across a range of industries to help support healthy, diverse local economies.

The training is designed to support access to employment and employees small to medium businesses, particularly those outside the mining sector who may have felt the impacts of COVID-19 more greatly.

Turquoise Truck Sign of Inclusion

A new Komatsu 930E-5 haul truck at BMA’s Goonyella Riverside Mine in Queensland stands out from the rest – with its tray painted turquoise in celebration of BHP’s LGBT+ ally community, Jasper.

The group’s name was inspired by the gemstone jasper – an opaque and finegrained variety of quartz known for its unique multi-coloured patterns – reflecting the rich diversity of BHP’S lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and others (LGBT+) staff and allies.

BHP said the LGBT+ ally network focused on strengthening the company’s inclusion culture by providing advice on ways to mitigate bias and ensuring that LGBT+ people were respected, valued and free from discrimination.

Diana Sanchez, Superintendent Mods and Ops Projects from the BMA Asset Engineering team, identified an opportunity to work with the haul truck suppliers, Komatsu and DTHiload, to implement the initiative.

She said she believed that symbols like this sent a powerful message to employees.

“The Jasper truck might look different, but it does exactly the same job as all the other trucks in the pit, it carries the same amount of dirt. Just because it is different, doesn’t mean that it is any less important,” Ms Sanchez said.

Formally endorsed by the BHP Executive Leadership Team and Global Inclusion and Diversity Council in 2017, Jasper’s aim is to drive a safe and inclusive work environment for everyone by providing advice on ways to reduce bias and ensure LGBT+ people are respected and valued no matter their sexual or gender identity.

Jasper is open to all employees whether they be LGBT+ identifying or an ally.

 

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