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Komatsu delivers top-tier training

Komatsu prides itself on providing a first-class training pathway for its workers. Quarry looks at how its award-winning program is supporting quarries.

The quarrying sector has a long list of operators who expect knowledgeable service and strong skills from dealers and original equipment manufacturers.

Yet many industries, including quarrying, face a labour shortage as older workers retire.

That is why Komatsu invests heavily in its next generation. The company has an extensive training program that incorporates two multi-million-dollar training facilities in Brisbane and Perth.

When Komatsu opened its training facility in Welshpool, Western Australia, it increased the company’s annual investment in training past $12 million. The Perth facility includes advanced workshop training rooms, a 30t crane heavy lifting bay, and labs dedicated to hydraulics and electronics.

Quarry spoke to Janine Gurney, Komatsu’s general manager for strategic capability and Matthew Tosolini, national RTO and technical capability manager, who work within the Komatsu Apprenticeship Program, and Komatsu employees.

Last year, the company’s efforts in training and development received national attention at the Australian Training Awards. The event recognises employers who have made innovations to their training, benefiting apprentices or local communities.

The company received the prestigious Australian Apprenticeships Employer Award for its apprenticeship program. The program is designed with institutions and industry bodies to ensure the program is at the forefront of any industry trends.

Tosolini said the company wanted its apprentices to learn continually.

“We have a strong focus at Komatsu to actively engage in the development of our workforce, whether that’s through our comprehensive apprenticeship programs, strong industry partnerships, or supportive workplace culture, it’s what sets as apart as a leader in the field,” he said.

“As labour shortages continue to be top of mind for our industry, we are immensely proud to contribute to the development of the next generation of skilled professionals and be recognised at such a high level for our training efforts.

“This achievement would not have been possible without the incredible effort of everyone at Komatsu. Thank you to our apprentices, staff, and all those who support our mission to promote excellence in vocational education and training.”

Komatsu’s program is run by specialised trainers who ensure the company’s apprentices can maintain the customer’s fleet and deliver expert knowledge.

Matthew Tosolini, Komatsu’s National RTO & Technical Capability Manager, andKirstyn Clarke, Komatsu’s Technical Capability Coordinator accepting their gold award for Australian Apprenticeships Employer. Image: Komatsu Australia

As a registered training organisation, the Komatsu Training Academy is held to rigorous standards to ensure learners receive the best education.

This is why Komatsu has invested heavily in both its Brisbane and Perth training academies.

The Komatsu Training Academy provides a range of training that can be customised to the learner. It provides online, on-site, and facility-based training, from fully accredited courses to short and topic-specific courses.

“We have two purpose-built education training facilities now. One is based in Brisbane, it is one of the most advanced technical training facilities for mining, earthmoving and utility equipment in Australiasia,” Gurney said.

“We also have a second facility based in Welshpool, Perth, where Komatsu has invested more than six million dollars in this state-of-the-art apprentice and training facility.

“It is a highly interactive, technically advanced, and globally connected facility designed to establish career pathways into high-technology areas in autonomous and Smart Construction.”

The company also conducts upgrade programs to continually upskill apprentices and employees to ensure their skills are among the best in the field. These programs have seen light motor vehicle mechanics become mobile plant fitters or diesel mechanics. Additionally, diesel fitters have been trained in digitisation to conduct remote safety checks and diagnoses.

Apprentice mobile plant mechanic Oonagh Keogh has been part of the Komatsu Apprenticeship Program. She initially decided to pursue the program after hearing “outstanding” feedback from others who had participated.

In her time at the company, Keogh was part of a team of apprentices at the Wacol branch that undertook a restoration of a 1976 vintage Komatsu D10A-1 track loader as part of the company’s 100th anniversary last year.

“I really enjoy the work that I get to do and the fact that I can learn new skills every day,” Keogh said.

“I’ve learnt everything from how to use different types of tooling to how to fix a hydraulic or electrical fault.

“Komatsu have provided me with constant support that goes beyond learning and training.”

Gurney said the program was already having a positive impact.

“The current challenges present an even greater need to create an industry-leading, future-focused training facility here in the West,” she said.

“Our award-winning apprenticeship program aims to deliver not just the technical skills but also gives our apprentices those life and business skills to help them thrive not only within Komatsu but the broader industry.”

Apprentice mobile plant mechanic Harry Newell said he had no regrets about pursuing an apprenticeship with Komatsu.

“I knew Komatsu was industry-leading with a great apprenticeship program, so it just made sense to apply,” he told Quarry.

“Komatsu show me that they care by supporting my technical and personal growth. If there’s an area that you’re passionate about they’ll provide you with the training and support to achieve your goals.

“I honestly enjoy that Komatsu encourages us to participate in charity work as a team.•

For more information, visit komatsu.com.au

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