Mining skills shortage looms as jobs begin to rush in
A SKILLS shortage in the mining sector looms unless more people can be lured into training for key roles according to an industry expert.
Coal Train is a leading provider of training courses in Central Queensland for several industries, including mining, and its CEO Karla McPhail is ideally positioned to understand how the sector is travelling.
Ms McPhail, 48, who has run Coal Train out of Yeppoon for the past seven years, said there was lots of positive job-growth signs.
In recent times several major mines have ramped up production and a number of projects are in the pipeline for CQ.
Today, Queensland Resource Council CEO Ian Macfarlane is expected to speak about the "green shoots in the resources sector" at the Bowen Basin Mining Club in Mackay.
Earlier this week, the QRC said recent employment data showed a rise in jobs in the coal sector as well as increased exploration expenditure.
Just yesterday, a southern Bowen Basin coal mine began advertising for 10 diesel fitters in the Rockhampton region.
Ms McPhail said with "lots of positive movements in the (mining) industry, there's significant growth in training".
"We're training in a lot of refresher training work, a lot of training of people coming into the industry and supervisor training," she said.
"We have a big demand about workplace health and safety and also project management, which is middle management training. There's a lot of work in that space as well."
With Central Queensland anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Adani's Carmichael mine project, Ms McPhail said it would be a huge boost for CQ.
"We're very supportive and have been in the industry over 20 years and think it's vital to the economic platform of Central Queensland and we think we really need to see the Galilee (Basin) opened," she said.
"I don't think the coal sector is going to last forever, we're definitely looking at alternatives and renewables, but we're not ready to be there yet."
Ms McPhail said coal will be around for another 30 or 40 years, taking a supporting role as the country transitions with its energy consumption.
With the high demand for work in the mining industry in the meantime, she warned there was the possibility of a skills shortage in the future.
She said professions such as fitters, electricians, auto electricians, plumbers and other specialised areas, if unchecked, had the potential for a short fall in numbers.
"The State Government initiatives around upskilling and supporting training are excellent, the money they are investing and opportunities they are making available are outstanding," Ms McPhail said.
"People need to be educating themselves in what is available to them because the State Government are doing a really good program in financially supporting skills development.
"I will give them a lot of credit on what they are currently doing to try and upskill our workforce in the space of apprenticeships, traineeships, work placement and skills development but I don't think they are being fully accessed."
Ms McPhail is extremely enthusiastic about the future prospects for the region.
"I think our local governments are trying to do a really good job," she said.
"We've got one of the best regions in Queensland to support the tourism sector, the mining sector and rural sector.
"I think we should be really proud of it and we should be promoting it."