Kalbar Conversations Column

Jobs, skills gaps, training

   Thursday 30th July, 2020

Over the past ten years, Victoria’s mining jobs have grown. If we include the engineering, technology, manufacturing and services (METS) jobs reliant on mining, the number of employees totals 88,000. Many of these jobs are in regional and rural areas of the state.

The minerals and METS sector’s combined economic contribution to the Victorian economy was estimated to be worth $13.6 billion in 2015-16, which is around four percent of Victoria’s Gross State Product (GSP) (figures sourced from Deloitte Access Economics, Mining and METS: engines of economic growth and prosperity for Australians, 2017).

Mining faces labour pool shortages for trades roles and other skilled workers. Sourcing roles is challenging with fierce competition. It has been identified that there is a lack of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in parts of regional Victoria where demand for mining jobs is expected to grow within the next two to five years. Regional delivery options from trades to mining courses are required to ensure locals can be trained for local industry.

During the past year, Kalbar has been proactively engaging with East Gippsland businesses and suppliers to understand the impact that the Fingerboards Project could have on local businesses should the Fingerboards Project be granted approval to proceed.

Through networking and collaboration, the Regional Infrastructure Working Group was formed – a Kalbar initiative to help identify the existing skills, capabilities and skills gaps in East Gippsland. The Working Group has grown rapidly and organically with participation increasing to include representatives from local trades, transport, horticulture and civil contracting businesses, TAFE Gippsland, other East Gippsland mining proponents, the Minerals Council of Australia, and government agencies.

To date, accessing training and up-skilling locally has been challenging for East Gippsland businesses as apprentices and trainees have needed to commute to the Latrobe Valley or beyond to Melbourne for the classroom components of training. The Working Group is now exploring opportunities to provide relevant education pathways for trades and skills training in East Gippsland, in collaboration with TAFE Gippsland and Federation University. Kalbar is proud to be at the forefront of this Working Group to ensure that future demands in East Gippsland will help reduce impacts on other industries where mining activities are growing.

Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd

Janet Robertson - Local Content Coordinator