DESPITE cutting jobs in late 2012, Rio Tinto subsidiary Coal and Allied has hired 13 new apprentices for two of its NSW mine sites.
The new electrical and mechanical apprentices were selected from a large group of applicants and will join 32 existing trainees at the company’s Hunter Valley and Mount Thorley Warkworth sites near Singleton.
Apprentice committee chair Steve Jackson said the move was proof of the company’s commitment to training local workers.
“Since 2002, we have started 115 apprentices who have gained experience in their chosen fields across our three operations in the Hunter Valley,” he said.
“Last year we took a new step to promote our apprenticeship program by hosting a workshop in Singleton specifically for interested high school students.
“The workshop gave attendees the chance to gain a better understanding of the recruitment process, improve their apprenticeship applications and develop skills to assist them during interviews.
“I am pleased to see four people who took part in the workshop have joined us in this new group of apprentices, so it was certainly a success.
“Later this year we will begin recruiting for the 2014 apprentice intake and we will provide more information about our next workshop for local students in May.”
The group will be trained through employer SKILLED and will study at the Hunter Institute Muswellbrook Mining Industry Skill Centre for six months.
Training services national manager Petrina Wetzel was delighted to be able to help the new local apprentices.
“SKILLED Group is committed to skills training, with over 1000 apprentices and trainees employed across our national network, demonstrating our commitment in skilling our next generation.”
After learning practical life skill, like managing finances, the apprentices will start practical rotations at the mine sites.
New apprentice Will Collum said the workshops helped him gain an edge on other applicants as he was able to ask Coal and Allied representatives what he needed to secure a job in the mining industry.
“It also gave me some forward insight into what the job would be like if I was successful.
“I’m really enjoying the variety in the program so far,” he said.
“The Mine Skills program gives exposure to four trades and gives you basic skills in all regardless of your chosen trade.
“This is enabling me to see the bigger picture of how different trades work in the mining industry.”