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Komatsu has unveiled a state-of-the-art training academy for tradies, which the company says is its way of addressing the critical skills shortage in the WA resources sector.

The academy includes advanced workshop training rooms, a 30-tonne heavy lifting bay, and labs dedicated to hydraulics and electronics.

The academy offers both apprentice and post-trade technical training in mining and construction jobs, with a focus on diesel mechanics, auto electricians and fabricators.

“Skills and labour shortages are a significant challenge for the resource sector. We need to invest in training and upskilling programs to ensure that our workforce is equipped with the necessary skills to meet the demand for these industries,” Komatsu regional general manager, Glenn Swift, said.

Research conducted by the company indicates that apprentices who successfully complete the program are roughly one year ahead of their conventionally trained counterparts.

Komatsu attributes the success its training to its innovative training methods, incorporating virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as highly proficient educators.

Training also equips apprentices with important life skills, such as mental health awareness, public speaking, road safety, fatigue managements, drug and alcohol awareness, and a variety of business skills.

Komatsu has a retention rate of 84 per cent, far exceeding industry standards by up to 30 per cent.

“It’s about fitting into the broader company culture where we focus on safety, community, career progression and access to the latest technologies,” Komatsu general manager training and capability, Janine Gurney, said.

“Our aim is that the apprenticeship is the first step in a lifelong career with us.”

Janine said the company aims to train 600 apprentices by 2025.

Women filled nearly half of the 2023 intake of 75 places. The 2024 intake will open in July.

The opening of the training academy coincides with Komatsu doubling its annual investment in training to $12 million.