Core skills development

THE Core Innovation Hub in Perth is rolling out a pilot program aimed at boosting the data science skills of mining professionals and their leaders.
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The Core course aims to turn mining professionals and leaders into data scientists.

Noel Dyson

The Geoscientist to Data Scientist program comprises a two-day course for leaders and a course for professionals that involves one day a week for 12 weeks. It is due to be run next year.

The course’s aim is to develop data science skills within existing mining professionals.

Demand for data scientists is growing. However, bringing in specialist data scientists has its own challenges. They know the data science but have to be upskilled in both mining and particular operating needs of the company.

What the Core program aims to do is make the use of the corporate knowledge mining professionals by giving them the data science skills to better do their jobs.

Core Innovation Hub CEO Tamryn Barker said the data science skills shortage was urgent and already impacting the mining and energy industries.

Heading the course is Core Skills skills catalyst Dr Sophie Hancock (pictured left).

She told Australia’s Mining Monthly the course was split into the two streams to ensure the participants made the best of it.

“We know it’s no good just doing a course that addresses the professionals because they need leaders and it’s no good just doing leaders because they need the professionals,” Hancock said.

Core has drawn three academic partners and four industry partners.

The academic partners are CSIRO Data 61, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia.

So far Core has announced two of the industry partners: Rio Tinto and Atco. The other two industry partners are to be announced in 2018.

“We’re working with our partners on what their future plans are beyond the pilot,” Hancock said.

“Each company coming into the partnership has an idea of their teams will be best suited.

“Being in the collaboration business we’re keen to show tangible outcomes.

“As part of this partnership we’ll be following up with the organisations. We want to see in one, three and six months’ time what has happened.”

The industry partners have each committed to sending four people to the leaders course and four people to the professionals course.

Hancock said that was so each company could create internal peer support structures at both the leadership and professional levels.

This way, she said, the course participants could develop and start working on new ideas of what they believe the company needed with the knowledge there would be some support in place.

At the end of the 12-week course the leaders will join with those who have just completed the professionals course.

The pilot course will be running in Perth at Core’s St Georges Terrace headquarters.

Should that pilot prove successful the course will then be run again in Brisbane, as part of Core’s expansion plans.

“We’re keen to promote the message that through upskilling people can remain valuable to their organisation,” Hancock said.

“What is it we need to be addressing? What skills and capabilities do we need to be able to deliver?”

Feedback from the pilot programs should hopefully answer those questions.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said the company was excited to be part of the resources sector skilling collaboration.

“The Core Skills pilot program speaks to our commitment to further develop our people and build on key competencies required for our business now and in the future,” he said.

“The program will help our people learn, innovate and share knowledge within agile and tailored programs.”