15/05/2012 - 14:59

Rio to double apprentice numbers

15/05/2012 - 14:59

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Mining giant Rio Tinto has announced a plan to double the size of its apprenticeship and trainee programs to ease tightening skills shortages.

Rio Tinto Pilbara operations president Greg Lilleyman said current business conditions provided an ideal opportunity to increase the intake of new trainees.

Mr Lilleyman said Rio expcted to take in at least 120 apprentices over the next 12 months, joining 310 apprentices and 403 trainees already employed at the business.

 “We are acutely aware of our responsibility to train and develop from within our own ranks and the communities surrounding our operations, and we take this responsibility very seriously,” he said.

“The current skills shortage and resulting focus on skills development creates the perfect conditions by which to promote innovative training business cases and to take bold steps in terms of investment.”

The training announcement follows Rio’s commitment last month to fund 43 mining-related scholarships at the University of Western Australia.

 “Rio Tinto spends more that $85 million a year on its training programmes in Western Australia, with about 700 employees actively involved in conducting training or assessing skills,” Mr Lilleyman said.

“We currently have 6.4% of our total workforce under a trainee or apprenticeship programme.”

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