Workforce, innovation and skills

The minerals industry’s contribution to Australian innovation depends upon high-value, high-wage jobs in a diversity of professions, including engineers, environmental scientists, geologists, geophysicists, mathematicians and financial officers.

Technological innovation will continue to change the nature of work in mining and therefore skills requirements. Mining operations will also be more data-driven, requiring programming and analytical skills.

The mining sector’s adoption of new technology and continued pursuit of innovation will improve productivity, safety and efficiency.

The MCA is looking closely at the composition of the future minerals workforce and skills requirement in growth areas such as automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

The release of EY’s The Future of work: the changing skills landscape for miners and the economic implications of technology and digital mining – commissioned by MCA – provides a comprehensive examination of future skills and training and technology trends in the Australian minerals industry.

Innovation, people and skills combined with technological advances will deliver a more globally competitive minerals sector. Quality and responsive education, training and workforce development are a crucial mechanism to ensure a supply of skilled workers enter and remain in the industry.

The MCA has invested over $60 million into minerals higher education since 2000, and in partnership with universities across the country has developed a world-class minerals education sector that is delivering the skills needed in the industry today.

However, the sector must also provide future graduates with the skills the minerals industry will need in the decades to come.

The Australian Government should continue to address the structural weaknesses across the post-secondary education and training landscape to ensure that Australians have access to meaningful education opportunities to participate in the future minerals workforce.

Additionally, workplace relations reforms that modernise workplaces and embrace innovation and changing work practices as a result of technology are vital to the competitiveness of the Australian mining industry.

Australian mining and mining supply companies are also working to raise awareness of their industries amongst young Australians and build the workforce of the future.

Despite the mining industry and Mining Equipment Technology Services (METS) sector providing jobs for 1.1 million Australians – or one in every 10 jobs – and great future prospects, it’s clear that much more needs to be done to make young people aware about the opportunities and rewards in mining and METS.

The mining industry has a great story to tell – our high-skill, high-wage workforce is younger, better-paid, better trained and has a much higher share of apprentices than other sectors, with average full-time weekly pay of $2,659, more than 65 per cent higher than the all-industries average.

The industry needs to tell its story better to make young people and their parents aware of the tremendous opportunities on offer, including world-leading innovation.

Industry has a commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce. The MCA is currently working with industry to develop and implement initiatives that are responsive to the evolving skills landscape and inspire both our existing and pipeline workforce. This includes the More to Mining Careers Guide.

The MCA also provides a number of annual scholarships to Ph.D. and post-doctoral researchers to encourage innovation and cutting-edge thinking while adding value to the world-class Australian minerals industry. These prestigious scholarships will facilitate research and training in areas of practical value to the Australian minerals industry.

For more information about the 2018/19 scholarships, please click here

Partnerships

The MCA is a gold sponsor of the national Teacher Earth Science Education Programme (TESEP)established in 2008 to assist development of science teachers through nine professional development modules as well online resources and minerals kits provided at no-cost. The program is endorsed by the Australian Science Teachers Association.

The MCA has joined a number of its member companies in corporate partnership with the Clontarf Foundation  which improves the education, discipline, self-esteem, life skills and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

The MCA supports the Indigenous Australian Engineering School at Curtin University, which provides a forum for Indigenous students to meet engineering role models and gain insights into the possibilities for their future.

The MCA is also a lead sponsor of the Robogals Asia Pacific  Rural Trips Program. Robogals volunteers deliver workshops in rural cities that expose students to the world of engineering and showcase the exciting opportunities in engineering and the minerals industry.

MCA members host volunteers for field trips in mining-regions; exposing Robogals to the breadth and depth of activity and opportunity across the industry, increasing their understanding of operations and innovation in practice and providing industry perspective for future teaching.

Fully funded and managed by industry, OresomeResources provides free online educational resources and teacher professional development to assist the teaching and learning of minerals and energy. MCA continues to support content revision and updating of the curriculum-related items developed for OresomeResources by teachers for teachers utilising industry and educational expertise to support key learning areas of science, mathematics, technology and social science.