Business School Enhances Prospects for Skilled Labour

The Australian extractive industry is facing an unprecedented level of challenges over the next several years. As in all businesses, the current mantra is ?doing more with less?. This is nothing new in the quarrying business, where tight budgets, competition and recruitment of skilled labour have been an ongoing challenge. This is now being compounded by the imminent retirement of a large proportion of the skilled workforce. More than 30 per cent of quarry workers are over 50 years old, therefore demand for staff is expected to be significantly higher in coming years, as these workers start to retire.

Tim Richards, the author of an annual report into global trends in mining and resources, said: ?For us in the industry, the priorities we see are skilled labour shortages and the cost of doing business. The demand for skilled workers is at an all-time high.?

In November 2011, professional services firm Deloitte launched a major discussion paper – Where is your next worker? – urging Australian businesses and government to act now to get ahead of the looming skills shortage. This discussion paper considered a number of issues which businesses and government can use to solve the skills problems and boost growth prospects, including working with education providers to access future skills, and shaping courses to suit business needs. It is important to note that the first issue identified was working with education providers to access future skills, and shape courses to suit business needs. This is where Box Hill Institute (BHI) has a proven track record.

BHI has a long and established history of working with and developing and delivering contextualised and targeted training solutions for the extractive industry. In 2011, BHI introduced the new Resources and Infrastructure Industry (RII) Training Package qualifications from Certificate II in Surface Extraction Operations through to the Advanced Diploma of Extractive Industries Management.

{{image3-a:l-w:350}}The programs are structured to ensure that organisations are able to have their experienced operators trained and qualified in reduced time off the job, resulting in considerable reduction in lost-time production. This is of considerable benefit particularly at the Certificate II and III operator level. Training is seen as the first step in progression in this industry. The training and certification will minimise the risks of accident, injury and damage as well as reducing legal liability exposure by demonstrating compliance with OHS legislative requirements.

BHI works closely with the Industry Skills Council, SkillsDMC, in developing and analysing skill needs for all potential students. This analysis forms the basis of the design of the training programs, ensuring training needs are identified and individually targeted. BHI regularly hosts an Extractive Advisory Committee Forum. Industry representatives are invited to attend the forum and participate in the reviewing and planning of training programs, including the structure and content of the courses BHI offers.


2011 saw the increased uptake of traineeships in the extractives industry. These are offered by BHI in partnership with the Australian apprenticeship centre JobsPlus. Traineeships were available in Certificates II, III and IV and Diploma and Advanced Diploma certificates. These traineeships offer many benefits to both employers and employees including both Federal and State Government funding support and incentives to employers.

In 2011, BHI commenced Certificate III training for two of Boral?s regional Victorian quarries for all employees and new Boral metro employees. This clearly shows a continuation of Boral Resources? commitment to its employees, ensuring every employee will receive appropriate levels of training as soon as practicable. In 2010 and 2011, all Boral Metro employees were awarded the Certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations. This was an outstanding achievement by all the employees who participated in the training sessions. Their sense of purpose and commitment made the job of the BHI trainers and assessors both an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
The Boral managers played a very important role in supporting the workers through their training, as well as ensuring that productivity was maintained. Boral Resources is extending the training regime to the delivery of the Certificate IV in Lean Manufacturing to three sites to reflect the organisation?s policy.

Holcim, Alex Fraser Group, Barro Group, Hanson, Local Mix Quarries, Yarra Valley Quarries, Evans Quarries, Hancock Victorian Plantations, High Quality Sales, LV Blue Metal Pty Ltd and Leighton Contractors were all involved in training programs in 2011. As with the Boral training experience, the students from these enterprises were enthusiastic about the chance to enhance their existing skills and knowledge and expand their horizons in areas previously not in their job function. These enterprises are making serious in-roads in staff retention and multi-skilling their workforces.

Interest in the BHI qualifications from Certificate II to Advanced Diploma has intensified as more organisations are recognising the benefits of having a fully trained workforce far outweighs the issues that arise from trying to conduct operations with skilled but untrained and unqualified workers. The added benefit is, of course, the traineeship programs with the incentive payments available to employers from the Commonwealth Government.

2011 saw groups of students on campus from various quarry enterprises complete Certificates II, III and IV in Surface Extraction Operations. These programs focused on the development of operator skills and safe working responsibility. The programs were delivered via workshops on campus and through on the job training. BHI trainers visit workplaces to support and guide students.

The Diploma of Surface Operations Management was completed by a large group of students from across Australia in 2011. Students would fly in from interstate to attend monthly workshops. The Diploma focused on the operational management of a quarry. Students attending the workshops were encouraged to network, share their experiences and solve common problems. The workshops were supported by industry expert facilitators, guest presenters and printed learning guides. {{image4-a:r-w:250}}

In 2012, BHI will be delivering the Diploma in Surface Operations Management to Boral managers in New South Wales as well as continuing the Diploma workshops based in Melbourne for students from Victoria, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and NSW, and a student from South America studying at the Institute.

The Advanced Diploma of Extractive Industries Management was offered for the first time in 2011. The program focuses on developing the students? conceptual and strategic management skills and is delivered within a guided mentoring forum. All students performed very well and contributed a vast amount of knowledge and information to the training sessions. The workshops provided students with the opportunity to consider supervisory models and techniques based on what they saw from different organisations. The BHI facilitators guided the sessions focusing on the development of both operational and supervisory skill development.

Chris Terry and Noel Pickering, the co-ordinators of the Extractive Industries Training Unit at BHI, believe that the quarrying industry recognises the critical need for training and skills development in this growing and increasingly complex industry. BHI is meeting this challenge, not only in the development and delivery of these formal accredited qualifications but in the content development of the programs and the close liaison with the industry. Chris said ?the focus in the training delivery for the industry used to be on just skills recognition and awarding a qualification on the basis of assessing current skills?.

Jane Sims, the centre manager for BHI?s Centre for Industry Education and Training, said: ?While skills recognition is an important part of any program, BHI uses the skills recognition process as a starting point, not an end point, and develops the program based on what participants already know and then moves forward with a learning plan to take participants to the next step in their professional development and career planning.?


In 2012, BHI is continuing to further develop training with the extractive industries through links with professional bodies including the IQA, the Construction Materials Processors Association, SkillsDMC and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries. An important feature of BHI?s courses is this long-established linkage with industry, regulatory bodies and specialist surface mining organisations. These links have provided up to date advice about the content and structure of the courses, including access to support and advice from the IQA and industry practitioners and experts.

While formal qualifications are an important aspect of the BHI?s training they are only part of the story. BHI also works closely with the industry to develop and deliver a range of short courses, eg Work Safely and Local Risk Control, Conduct Crushing Operations, Conduct Screening Operations, Conduct Blending Plant Operations, Conduct Crushing and Screening Plant Operations and Shot Firing Refresher courses.

BHI maintains its position with WorkSafe Victoria for assessment only, for trained persons who wish to gain their shot firing licence for above or below ground blasting activities. The assessment is a practical assessment carried out on-site by the assessor, during a normal quarry operations production blast. The person will have met WorkSafe?s requirements prior to being assessed. The endorsement of a shot firing licence can then be issued.

Jane said that 2012 is shaping up to be a very full year for the Extractive Unit at BHI. BHI continues to design all courses to integrate into a nationally accredited qualification. Jane indicated that these courses could be undertaken in full or specific skill sets that could be studied to address specific training needs. This provides exciting and flexible opportunities for participants and enterprises.?

Source: Box Hill Institute

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