The recent establishment of a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) by mining services company PYBAR will help facilitate the delivery of quality, nationally-accredited training in the underground mining sector.
The cyclical nature of mining makes skills development challenging, with a constant ebb and flow of skills availability and shortage.
With the industry presently in a renewed cycle of activity, a shortage of technical professionals is becoming evident, with a compounding factor being a decline in the number of engineering students and graduates coming into mining in recent years.
PYBAR has in place several initiatives aimed at tackling these issues on a broader scale. The RTO, known as the Australian Institute of Mining (AIM), will add impetus to these efforts, enabling PYBAR to develop its own people whilst supporting people and services improvements across the sector.
'AIM'ing for the stars
The approval of AIM by the Australian Skills Quality Authority has boosted PYBAR's ability to provide nationally-accredited training for its staff and clients across its operations.
AIM will facilitate Certificate II and III in Underground Metalliferous Mining programs as well as a range of regular short courses. Already, 80 workers from various PYBAR sites have commenced the Certificate III program in Underground Metalliferous Mining, and one-day ‘Learning from disasters' courses for mine managers and supervisors are being rolled out across NSW.
"PYBAR is now able to develop our workforce in line with national standards," said CEO, Brendan Rouse. "We can offer training that is current, relevant, and applicable immediately in the workplace across the full range of roles. This is also a boost for the long-term sustainability of our business through the on-going development of our workforce and the regions in which we operate".
Engineer Skills Exchange Program
PYBAR is partnering with Mining One Consultants in a new Engineer Skills Exchange Program, which provides upskilling opportunities through secondments to Mining One.
Mining One provides technical expertise in the fields of mine engineering, geotechnical engineering and resource geology. Their expertise and exposure to global practices will provide PYBAR's engineers the opportunity to develop their technical and planning capability skills. At the same time, PYBAR is hosting Mining One engineers and exposing them to its underground operational know-how and the best practice processes and procedures.
Alan Bermingham from the King Vol Project is the first PYBAR engineer to participate in the program with more to follow.
Graduate Program and vacation opportunities
PYBAR has a very successful Graduate Program which focusses on mining engineering, safety, HR and IT. The program, which has a reputation for being among the best in the industry, provides hands-on experience, project management, training and mentorship to graduates interested in forging long-term mining careers.
"We have a responsibility to nurture the next generation of mining professionals and we take this duty seriously," says Chief Technology Officer, Andrew Rouse.
"A decade ago there were only three engineers employed by PYBAR. Today we have 32 across the business, many of whom have come through the Graduate Program and progressed through the organisation to become Project Managers".
PYBAR also offers regular vacation work opportunities for students, helping them to complete their industry training and, for many, opening up a pathway to a career with the company. Up to five students across multiple engineering disciplines participate in the program annually.
New scholarship for WASM student
PYBAR has introduced a new scholarship to support a full-time student doing a resource-related undergraduate degree at the Curtin Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) campus in Kalgoorlie.
The PYBAR Scholarship for Engineering Excellence - promoting undergraduate education - is worth $10,000 per year over a maximum period of three years and will be offered to an eligible student commencing year two of their chosen degree in 2020.
The scholarship is another example of PYBAR's efforts to secure the long-term future of the mining industry.