28/06/2010 - 11:24

Mining companies must upskill: SkillsDMC

28/06/2010 - 11:24

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National Industry Skills Council for the resources and infrastructure industry, SkillsDMC, believes WA resources companies must focus on upskilling their existing workforce of over 65,000 to ensure the industry's future.

Mining companies must upskill: SkillsDMC

National Industry Skills Council for the resources and infrastructure industry, SkillsDMC, believes WA resources companies must focus on upskilling their existing workforce of over 65,000 to ensure the industry's future.

"Increased activity in the state has seen more enterprises entering the market and more exploration occurring. Drilling is busier than ever and the civil infrastructure sector will only get more active due to the development of major projects such as Gorgon; all set to boost the state's growth over the next 12 months," said Lee Jackson, SkillsDMC regional manager.

"What is concerning is as the market picks up, so too is staff turnover - a trend felt particularly in WA's mining sector.

"Skilled employees are searching for new and better job opportunities in the state; adding pressure to skills issues already worsened by the GFC," he said.

According to Mr Jackson, companies in WA need to focus on workforce planning and development to keep up with demand and avoid being caught short of skills.

"It is no secret that skills shortages are a major issue for the resources and infrastructure industry. The reality is that the state is reaching the point where there may not be enough skilled workers to sustain growth," Mr Jackson said.

Mr Jackson believes industry and government initiatives launched over the last six months are helping to address these issues.

A successful initiative to date has been the completion of the WA pilot of the Federal Government's Productivity Places Program (PPP) with Rio Tinto and SkillsDMC.

Under the national PPP pilot launched in March 2009, Rio Tinto enrolled 10 employees across a number of iron ore mine sites predominantly in the Pilbara region; including Pannawonica, Hope Downs and Marandoo.

SkillsDMC worked with the organisation to coordinate the program.

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