Rio Tinto provides funding for Australia’s first automation course

Rio Tinto has welcomed the introduction of Australia’s first nationally recognised qualifications in automation at the South Metropolitan TAFE Technical and Further Education institution, in Fremantle, Western Australia.

The course will provide workers in the resources sector and others looking to join it, with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in an increasingly science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based industry, the miner said.

“The new certificate courses, the first to provide education pathways to jobs in the area of autonomous operations, are the result of an historic collaboration between Western Australia’s resources sector including Rio Tinto, South Metropolitan TAFE and the Western Australian Government,” Rio said.

The courses have been developed over the last year and are now accredited by the Training Accreditation Council (WA), with Rio contributing up to A$2 million ($1.37 million) to development of the new qualifications.

A Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations will be introduced to TAFE curriculum and piloted by a group of Rio Tinto’s iron ore workforce from August, Rio said. It will also be piloted for Year 11 and 12 students in selected high schools across the state.

A Working Effectively in an Automated Workplace micro-credential course for trade-qualified, apprentices and technicians will also be available, according to Rio, which said a Certificate IV in Remote Centre Operations was also in development.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Chris Salisbury (pictured furthest right), said: “Australia’s workforce is in the midst of an important shift, as innovation and technology create new business models across all industries. Mining has moved to become a genuine leader in innovative technology and we recognise the critical need to provide effective education programmes and opportunities to help our people succeed in this new era.

“We believe these courses will make a long-lasting and positive difference to the lives of many Australians. It will help ensure our industry remains globally competitive and is a leader in innovative technology.”