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Debbie doesn’t dampen tradie hopefuls

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

Among those caught up in Cyclone Debbie during March were 21 central Queensland students who had to cut short a trade training programme.

Some of them could get home from Dysart’s Trade Training Centre but others had to wait and sit it out until the storm had passed.

However, this week, they are back and getting to learn what it’s like to be a tradie on a mine site through real-life experiences from some of BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) leading tradespeople. The year-12 students from Dysart, Moranbah and Blackwater State High Schools are working with BMA Saraji mine apprentices and tradies at the centre during the annual BMA Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) Make It Now in Trades (MINT) Camp.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the camps were extremely important to provide a pathway for students to highly-paid highly-skilled trade careers.

“Some of the current BMA apprentices were students of high schools that participate in the QMEA, underscoring the effectiveness of the programmes,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“This year’s students are able to learn from people from a similar situation to them who are now working in the resources sector.

“It’s also good to see that a third of the students taking part are girls, and that BMA uses this experience as part of its recruitment process for incoming apprentices and trainees.”

The students will also tour BMA’s Saraji mine and present to management their new-found knowledge of safety, teamwork and communication.

Together, they are taking old pushbikes from the dump, refurbishing them and fitting them with an engine. Saraji mine representatives will judge their work.

The aim of the camp is to give students a real experience of trade roles in the resources sector and develop basic trade skills to complete their project.

BMA Saraji Mine General Manager, Keith Haley, said the camps were highly valued by the company. “The QMEA trade camps provide us with an excellent opportunity to meet and observe some of the best future tradespeople and show them what is involved if they successfully join our apprenticeship programme,” Mr Haley said.

“The QMEA does a great job in providing the resources sector with the next generation of skilled employees.”

QMEA is the education and skills arm of the QRC and is tasked with providing pathways for students into the resources sector. It is a partnership between the resources sector and government through the Gateway to Industry Schools Program.

The camp is being run over three days from the 17th May.

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