Getting smart about mining skills

NEW South Wales TAFE is trying to manage the looming skills shortage by introducing trades-based students to entrepreneurial companies that can assist with data skills transfer.
Getting smart about mining skills Getting smart about mining skills Getting smart about mining skills Getting smart about mining skills Getting smart about mining skills

NSW TAFE is trying to head off a looming mining skills shortage.

A dire shortage of mining engineers is emerging, with the University of NSW having just six students enrolled to study mining engineering this year, down from 120 enrolments four years ago.

Demand for roles involving data science, data analytics and big data is high while the talent supply is also low.

In Australia, 90% of respondents to an Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia poll found recruiting for these roles more difficult than prior years, despite organisations paying nearly twice the median Australian salary for professionals with these skills.

A shortage of skills in two fundamental areas of mining in the future is looming on the horizon.

A holistic approach that seeks to maximise the flexibility of the mining workforce across trades and occupations through on the job training is needed to address this skills shortage.

TAFE Digital and Ribit.net, a student jobs-matching platform, which is part of CSIRO's Data61, have announced a collaboration that aims to help connect TAFE Digital students to Australian startups and innovative companies offering jobs and work experience in emerging areas such as big data analytics, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence.

The Ribit platform made accessible to the TAFE students will connect employers with student talent with skills in cyber security, AI and machine learning, information networking, website development, database design, business and data analytics.

NSW Assistant Minister for Skills Adam John Marshall said the agreement between TAFE Digital and Ribit.net was an important collaboration that would have NSW leading the charge in skilling up students for tomorrow's jobs.

The agreement between the two organisations will involve inviting students to join the Ribit network, giving them exposure to thousands of companies looking for tech talent around Australia, and providing the opportunity for students to attend targeted events each year that introduce them with companies that are investing in data-driven talent.

TAFE Digital general manager Megan Aitken said there were thousands of students looking to gain experience in their chosen field of study, including trades and mining engineering.

"Through this collaboration TAFE Digital will provide more meaningful connections, and work experience for students in areas where skills demand is the highest such as cyber security and machine learning," she said.

CSIRO Data61 CEO Adrian Turner said one of CSIRO's goals as an organisation was to support STEM careers across the nation and  the partnership would open up more opportunities for students.

Ribit.net director Liz Jakubowski said increasingly businesses are less interested in where or what a student studies and more in what they have learned and can demonstrate in the workplace.

"TAFE's new digitally focused courses address the areas that fast growing, transforming businesses need," she said.