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The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has launched three mining skills project hubs, including an apprenticeships hub that aims to put 5000 people into work.

Project hubs in digital transformation, apprenticeships and attraction and retention are part of the Mining Skills Organisation Pilot (MSOP), which is spearheaded by the MCA and supported by the Australian Government.

The skills project hubs and MSOP aim to speed up training to enhance skills development among apprentices.

MCA chief executive officer Tania Constable said the hubs would assist with industry training.

“Australia’s minerals industry already has a highly skilled, highly paid workforce that is better trained than many other sectors,” she said.

“However, the combination of technology adoption, industry and learner expectations and skills availability pressures will test how tradespeople are trained for and inducted into the mining industry.”

The apprenticeships hub will focus on modernising trades training, education and development, along with providing content, delivery and assessment models that are fitted for industry demands and apprentice knowledge.

Apprentices make up approximately 4 per cent of the mining workforce, which is nearly double other industry averages.

The digital transformation hub will specialise in faster delivery of training for automation and the application of digital technologies. It aims to integrate existing automation training into Australia’s training package framework.

The attraction and retention hub will assist in applying test strategies that attract people with partial or transferable skills to the mining industry.

Constable also said an enhanced Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector would greatly assist the mining industry.

“A more responsive and flexible VET system which improves skills delivery and enhances the learner’s experience will ensure the industry has access to the skilled talent pipeline it needs to continue creating highly skilled, highly paid jobs and making a significant contribution to the national economy,” she said.

“With the pace of technological change accelerating, the future minerals workforce must be skilled in technology adoption, confident in using and applying technology, adaptable and flexible to thrive now and into the future.”