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|Coal winning in the Latrobe Valley exceeds 45 mtpa uses a small number of Bucket Wheel Excavators and high speed conveyor systems. While this equipment offers many advantages in the production cycle, incorrect use can lead to low productivity and risks to the safety of the operators and equipment. The mining equipment is of high capital value and easily damaged when used outside the correct operating range. In the extreme case, this can result in total machine collapse, having major implications for personnel safety as well as production and costs. With an active productivity improvement program in the Latrobe Valley in the last two years resulting in a 50 per cent reduction of personnel, many experienced operators have retired. Mine management are facing the urgent need to rapidly train new operators to maintain high productivity levels and reduce the risk of accidents to personnel and high capital cost plant. With the assistance of the Central Gippsland College of TAFE a Certificate Level course has been developed for open cut operators. The course covers all essential training needs for the Latrobe Valley mines. The training is developed from National Competency Standards, allowing transfer of skills, and is flexible to suit other enterprises. It has been written for self-paced learning with the total job understanding, and to have competency-based learning outcomes, training tasks and assessments built-in to modules. With the introduction of this new training program, management is convinced that the element of risk within the mine will be significantly reduced. For these reasons it is an ideal training model for other enterprises.|