Mining Skills Organisation Pilot - Project hubs

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Australia’s resources sector sources up and coming talent from a fit-for-purpose apprenticeship system. The Apprenticeships hub seeks to regain levels of enrolment in apprenticeship commencement and training programs comparable to the last resources cycle of mid-2012. During the June quarter that year, apprentice and traineeship commencement rates were at approximately 3,000 and there were an additional 14,000 individuals in training. Towards the ambition of meeting these previous success rates, this project seeks to modernise how the industry produces skilled tradespeople in a more timely and efficient way.

The Apprenticeships project hub will initially focus on an identified pressure point within the industry – diesel mobile plant mechanics.

The project is comprised of the following key elements:

  • Program design - The project will determine appropriate training program content that delivers a skill and knowledge specification confirmed through engagement with industry and key stakeholders
  • Program delivery – Working collaboratively with public and private training providers, the project will explore alternative models for training delivery and assessment with acceleration options and consideration of technology enabled learning resource development
  • Program administration - This project element includes administrative functions associated with the apprentice sign-up and monitoring processes to ensure apprentice completion rates are maximised.

Digital transformation

The employment of contemporary technological products is central to future-proofing an enduring Australian mining workforce. The digital transformation project hub aims to develop and test a mechanism which will allow accredited training products to be part of Australia’s nationally recognised training product library. Such products will be developed for the sector relating specifically to automation and the application of digital technologies

This mechanism will allow an enhanced speed to market response in merging existing and new digital related accredited content into training packages, thereby allowing accelerated system response to identified digital/technology based skills.

Closer alignment between technology adoption and the development and deployment of training products will close the gap between technology implementation and availability of a skilled workforce.

The new approach will be piloted with automation-related training products developed by Rio Tinto, in partnership with the Western Australian Government, South Metropolitan TAFE and in collaboration with industry. These training products are as follows:

  • Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations
  • Automation Skill Set (for existing tradespeople/apprentices)
  • Certificate IV in Autonomous Control and Remote Operations.

Attraction and retention

This project hub seeks to position mining as an industry of choice through developing, testing and activating a framework for attracting and retaining the talent pipeline the modern mining industry and the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector needs, now and into the future.

The aim of the project is to:

  • Offer an industry-level framework that complements existing company level initiatives, programs or approaches
  • Identify and test strategies that make a career in the industry attractive to those with partial or transferable skills and qualifications
  • Align the skills necessary for an upward and prosperous career in mining with those in other industries
  • Provide potential, new and existing talent with a centralised hub to explore their learning and employment options across the mining industry through a suite of processes and models, mechanisms, tools and resources, as well as training products. 

To achieve this, the hub covers elements that are crucial to securing a highly skilled, robust and future-ready workforce, including:

  • Workforce planning – establishing and testing a process for codifying capability sets at role level and understanding broad industry demand for those capabilities
  • Pathways – understanding and capturing the talent (learning and employment) pathways across the industry, including the diversity, flexibility and breadth of choice
  • Skilling – providing upskilling and cross-skilling options for potential, new and existing talent, establishing a mining knowledge fundamentals skill set
  • Transferable skills – facilitating a model for the identification of transferable skills and capabilities and a tool/mechanism for developing candidate skills profiles that can be integrated with pathways
  • Attraction and retention framework and Mining Talent Portal – refining the relationships between workforce planning, pathways, skilling and transferable skills to finalise the definition of a holistic attraction and retention framework, and packaging it into the mining Talent Portal – a centralised hub for exploring employment and learning pathways across the mining industry.

Qualifications Reform Trials

Australia’s mining industry needs access to vocational education and training (VET) qualifications that better reflect the skills and knowledge necessary to work in the industry. Of the 240,000 people employed directly in the mining industry nationally, over one-third hold qualifications at the Certificate III or IV level. Improving the alignment between industry need and these qualifications will increase industry confidence in the quality and relevance of outcomes from Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system and provide better job opportunities for individuals. These, in turn, provide a firm foundation for increased industry engagement leading to higher enrolments and the creation of more jobs in the industry to further support Australia’s economic recovery.

Qualification design trials will enable industry, government and training providers to test elements of qualifications reform including resources required to support employers and learners and what may be required to support training providers to make a successful transition to delivering training products of the future.

For the mining industry, this will test the development of new broad based qualifications and skill sets that relate to job clusters or job families in the industry.

These training products will better prepare people for roles in the mining industry and provide clarity on what additional skills and training are needed to move between identified roles in the industry.

The following design elements will underpin the trials:

  • Qualifications based on appropriately grouped occupation and skills clusters to deliver vocational outcomes for students (including supporting stronger recognition of cross-sectoral and transferable skills)
  • Simplifying products and removing complexity through the separation of occupational and training standards to reduce the level of prescriptive conditions in current qualifications and make better use of industry and educational expertise
  • Stand alone and/or stackable short form training products, with improved pathways advice to support students to rapidly upskill or reskill to pursue new career opportunities (including facilitating stronger articulation pathways between school, VET and higher education to support lifelong learning).

This project takes the qualifications reform trials design elements and design objectives and applies them in the context of MSOP project hubs.

With primary linkages across all hubs, this project is comprised of two key elements:

  • Standards development – developing and testing occupational and training standards that will apply to an occupational cluster/grouping which includes the mobile plant diesel mechanic trade; encompassing aspects of design facilitating occupational mobility within mining and potentially across industries)
  • Pathways development – developing a pathways map for the mining industry identifying job roles, skill and capability requirements; enabling provision of enhanced pathways advice to individuals and employers, also addressing articulation issues between educational sectors.