Rio moves to double apprentices

RIO Tinto has unveiled plans to rapidly expand its apprenticeship and trainee programs in a bid to help alleviate the growing skills shortage.
Rio moves to double apprentices Rio moves to double apprentices Rio moves to double apprentices Rio moves to double apprentices Rio moves to double apprentices

Rio Tinto's iron ore operations. Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.

Lauren Barrett

The mining giant said it would look to employ a further 120 apprentices over the next year, in addition to the 310 apprentices and 403 trainees already learning new skills while on the job.

Rio Pilbara operations president Greg Lilleyman said the economic environment and industry competition made it a perfect time to increase its intake of trainees.

“We are acutely aware of our responsibility to train and develop from within our own ranks and the communities surrounding our operations and we take this responsibility very seriously,” Lilleyman said.

“The current skills shortage and resulting focus on skills development creates the perfect conditions by which to promote innovative training business cases and to take bold steps in terms of investment.”

Back in October last year, Rio made the innovative decision to take the responsibility for apprentices and employees in-house, starting with 145 new apprentices.

In response to the announcement, Rio dedicated five regional training centres to cater for the training programs.

The facilities are at Dampier, Cape Lambert, Paraburdoo, Tom Price and Belmont.

Lilleyman said Rio spent about $85 million a year on its training programs in Western Australia, with about 700 employees involved in conducting training as assessing skills.

Workers in traineeships or apprenticeships currently make up 6.5% of Rio’s total workforce.

Shares in Rio last traded 3.2% down at $58.39.

This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication MiningNews.net.

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