Continuing Education for the Australian Mining Industry Workforce

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 0
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
The Australian mineral industry involves a diverse range of expertise and skills. Within that, the mining industry, representing mine planning, mine management and equipment operation, has capital intensive, high productivity equipment and a small but skilled workforce. Continuing education for all personnel in the workforce after formal school courses will be an important contribution towards improving competitiveness. The non-tertiary sector represents a significant proportion of the workforce and requires as much attention as the tertiary educated group. Competency Based Training is now being developed for the mining industry in Australia under the National Training Board and the mining industry is well represented in establishing standards and curriculum. TAFE is a major source of accredited courses but some mining companies are also developing internal courses not necessarily for external accreditation. Articulation of such accredited courses to tertiary mining engineering courses has been considered. The education and training of equipment operators through continuing education requires attention to operating skills, an understanding of the productivity factors under the direct influence of the operator and providing product quality to the customer. The education and training of mining engineers has been widely covered and continuing close involvement of the mining industry is required to ensure well balanced courses in technical and interpersonal skills as well as motivation to continue learning for life. Postgraduate research is a part of continuing education but the mining industry has to continually address the adequate recognition of post-graduate qualifications for the increased technical or management expertise and the development of better analytical and problem solving skills which can be directed towards improving competitiveness. More attention has to be paid to providing adequate financial incentives to attract suitable students, particularly after attaining some experience, and to address their professional career path with a company so they are not significantly disadvantaged by undertaking post-graduate studies. The Chartered Professional Engineer status as provided by The Institution of Engineers, Australia to qualified candidates is being considered by The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy as a further recognition of a member's specific expertise and competence in mining and metallurgical engineering. Continuing education plays a major part in the maintenance of the expertise and competence required for a professional engineer to develop and also to retain chartered status. Continuing education will be a significant part of the education and training of all the mining workforce towards improving the competitiveness of the mining industry. The major challenges will be the motivation of all towards lifelong learning and the integration of the various programs towards providing the opportunity for a steady and satisfying career progression.
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