Hundreds of quarry workers to be up-skilled

Announced as part of the $3 billion Building Australia?s Future Workforce Initiative, the Critical Skills Investment Fund trains new workers and up-skills existing employees in an effort to meet the country?s crippling shortage of skilled workers.

The latest $28 million in investment is being distributed among 70 successful applicants to the Critical Skills Fund in its first round, which opened earlier in the year. Businesses can apply for co-funding for training initiatives in a second round of funding later in the year.

In a partnership with industry, this round of funding will support the training of over 7500 workers from small, medium and large businesses, half of which will be in regional locations.

A thousand training places will be made available in remote locations, while 1500 new workers will be introduced into the resources, construction, infrastructure and renewable energy sectors.

Under the plan, senior tradespeople will be trained for ?frontline management jobs? and ?specialist roles,? with a focus on quarrying and mining, as well as operations supporting resource projects.

According to the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, SkillsDMC will run a project in Queensland which will up-skill 63 employees in nine quarries, using contextualised workplace training to enhance productivity and safety. A number of qualifications will be offered to employees, including Certificate III in surface extraction for operators, Certificate IV for supervisors and Diplomas for managers.

SkillsDMC chief executive officer Steve McDonald told Quarry that the exact details of the nine quarries could not be identified until negotiations have been finalised. McDonald also confirmed that $244,000 worth of training was to take place.

In Tasmania, over 550 employees from three employers in the mining, civil construction and quarrying sectors will be trained in a range of underground metalliferous mining, business, training and assessment qualifications, using RPL and on-the-job training.

As with the Queensland quarries, specific details about the three Tasmanian employers could not be revealed until negotiations have been finalised.

According to McDonald, both projects are stand-alone and self-contained, with no plans to roll out training programs nationally. Providing workers with nationally recognised qualifications also allows them ?greater mobility? to take their expertise to other quarries across the country.

?Working in partnership with industry is the best way to target our training investment and puts industry at the heart of the training process,? said Senator Chris Evans, the Federal Minister for Skills and Jobs. ?Together we can boost workforce participation and meet the demand for skilled labour.?

Source: Statement by Hon Senator Christopher Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations

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