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Mining giant announces thousands of new jobs

BHP Operations Services worker
A BHP Operations Services worker.

A multinational resources company promises to hire thousands of new employees and no experience is necessary.

BHP will invest nearly $800 million in recruiting 3500 new apprentices and trainees of all ages and levels of experience to help address a nationwide skills shortage.

3500 jobs

The money will help increase the company’s apprentice and trainee intake through the BHP FutureFit Academy by 2500. A further 1000 skills development opportunities will be offered in regional areas. The company will also pay for advanced apprenticeships and short courses in areas of potential future workforce demand, and award more tenders to domestic mining, equipment, technology and services contractors.

The announcement came after the Federal Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business’ latest Labour Market Analysis of Skilled Occupations showed employers were struggling to fill the following job vacancies:

  • fitters
  • bricklayers
  • stonemasons
  • carpenters
  • electricians
  • plumbers
  • glaziers
  • architects
  • civil engineers
  • metal fabricators
  • motor mechanics
  • wall and floor tilers
  • electrical engineers
  • mechanical engineers
  • automotive electricians
  • diesel motor mechanics
  • sheetmetal trades workers
  • metal fitters and machinists
  • construction project managers
  • structural steel and welding workers
  • air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics.

CQ University and North Metropolitan TAFE are now accepting applications for heavy diesel and mechanical fitter traineeships. Successful applicants will be offered a 12-month Certificate II maintenance traineeship.

Click here to apply for a traineeship.

Supervisors also wanted

BHP is separately looking for production and maintenance supervisors through the company’s Supervisor Development Program. The 18-month program allows applicants with a background in mining to be recruited and trained in management roles across the business.

Haul truck operator Christine Ashby was one of the 44 successful applicants and revealed she heard about the program through a coworker.

“You do not see too many female pre-strip supervisors so, when I was told I had a role in the program, I was quite surprised,” she said in a public statement.

“I am really looking forward to learning from the great supervisors in our business. It is really the best of both worlds, while we are getting all the theoretical information through the program we are also shadowing a leader for the 18-month period on site, learning from their skills and industry knowledge.”

Click here to apply for a supervisor traineeship.

CEO Mike Henry believes training new staff will help the nation recover from the worldwide coronavirus recession.

“As Australia looks to rebuild its economy and provide jobs for the future, the mining industry has an important role to play as Australia’s biggest export earner employing hundreds of thousands of people,” he said in a public statement.

“Providing apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for Australians of all ages and all walks of life, particularly in our regional communities, is a commitment we can make to help Australia bounce back.”

Conditions apply

However, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is concerned any qualifications or skills gained through a BHP apprenticeship might not be recognised by other employers.

CFMEU claimed trainees at BHP’s Paget Maintenance Facility in Mackay learnt the hard way that programs they joined would not deliver a full trades qualification.

“Instead of getting youngsters fault finding, diagnosing, then repairing equipment as it comes in from the mines so they end up as diesel fitters or auto electricians, BHP has them stationed simply ripping certain broken components off and replacing them,” CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said in a public statement.

“These youngsters are being short-changed, BHP obviously did not clearly tell them they were not going to come out of this with a trade qualification.”

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The union urged the mining giant to offer “transferrable” trade qualifications.

“BHP are potentially deskilling a future generation of workers, when you compare what a normal apprenticeship and trade qualification requires, we see here BHP undercutting and undermining all that approach to give these workers a certificate which is only part of the skill required for a complete trade,” Smyth said.

“It is not just a problem for the industry but for the workers’ own career progression because every other company is still with the traditional system that we have in place, this approach locks them into BHP and nowhere else.”

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