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Mining giant BHP has unveiled its new FutureFit Academy in Forrestfield, Perth, as part of the company’s commitment to building the skills workers needed for modern mining.

Through its two academies in Western Australia and Mackay in central Queensland, BHP aims to create 2500 new traineeships and apprenticeships over five years.

“Minerals and mining are critical to Australia’s economy and the global energy transition,” BHP Australia president Geraldine Slattery said.

“We have an enormous opportunity but also challenges to overcome to keep competing in the global arena, among them the need to build the skills needed in a modern mining sector.”

Launched in 2020 with a $300 million commitment from BHP, the FutureFit Academy offers paid training pathways into the mining industry for those without previous mining experience, at any stage of their career.

To date, more than 1100 people have joined the FutureFit program and more than 500 have graduated with qualifications and a guaranteed job with BHP.

The new BHP FutureFit Academy in Forrestfield is more than double the size of its predecessor in Welshpool, with an additional 110,000 square metres of workshop space and capacity for many more students.

The learning academies feature immersive virtual reality technology combined with workshop learning to develop skills and knowledge.

Kael, a proud Noongar man from Perth, is currently 10 months into his maintenance apprenticeship. For 10 years prior to joining FutureFit, Kael worked in a pawnbroker shop.

“At 33, I never thought I wanted to go for an apprenticeship. It was one of those things that I thought was out of my grasp,” Kael said.

“But with FutureFit apprenticeships being closer to two years, and based here in Perth, it was something that I jumped at the opportunity to get on board with.”