BHP has officially launched its Underground School of Excellence at Olympic Dam, an innovative new training program creating new job opportunities for people without experience in mining. South Australian Premier the Hon Steven Marshall MP joined the Minister for Mining and Energy the Hon Dan van Holst Pellekaan MP on a tour of the underground mine to officially open the school.
Premier Marshall applauded BHP’s innovative skills training program for its future workforce. “BHP’s commitment to expanding the pool of workers that mining operations in South Australia can draw upon dovetails neatly with the State Government’s investment in 20,000 new work-based apprenticeships and traineeships. The School of Rock helps deliver on a responsibility employers and governments share to ensure we are training the next generation of employees for the jobs of the future.”
Olympic Dam Asset President Laura Tyler said: “The School of Rock is an example of BHP playing its part in building South Australia’s skills base and providing new opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to join our team. It is also a fantastic example of putting people first; of collaboration, ingenuity and innovation that puts people and their wellbeing at the centre of what we do.”
Through a tailored five-week program of theory and practical training, new starters are given the skills, language, and confidence needed make a safe and productive start to a mining career. The School of Rock also includes modules on BHP’s history, company purpose, working culture, and mental health.
Over the past six months, 87 people from baristas to school teachers to barbers have been through the school, with positive results. The injury rate for new starters is significantly lower than the mine average and retention rates are also increasing. The School is one of many activities underway to prepare Olympic Dam for the future. “Olympic Dam is a world-class multi-generational resource that continues to make a significant contribution to the South Australian economy,” Tyler said.
“BHP is one of South Australia’s largest employers, with approximately 4,000 staff. Our focus is on growing our operations and our team. This year alone we have welcomed 360 new starters, and at any given time we have approximately 250 open roles. We are at an exciting time in Olympic Dam’s history. We are investing strategically in infrastructure and technology, and developing our underground mine to ensure we continue to create shared value for South Australians for decades to come,” Tyler said.