Rio investing $60M in WA skills development

RIO Tinto plans to invest close to A$60 million next year in training and development in Western Australia.
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Staff reporter

Early next year, the company will start recruiting more than 150 people as part of its 2021 intake of graduates, apprentices, trainees and vacation students in WA.

Rio also recently completed its second round of apprentice intake for 2020 with 30 people hired, including five who had lost their apprenticeships with other organisations due to COVID-19 and eight redeployments from the company's Argyle diamond mine.

Of the 30, one-third are female and more than half are Indigenous.

Rio also plans to spend more than $10 million on external training programs in WA next year in addition to its in-house learning and development activities that provide extensive training for the company's 12,000-strong workforce in the state.

The company aims to maintain a program of around 500 development roles (graduates, trainees, apprentices and vacation students) within the business at any one time in the future.

Last year, Australia's first nationally recognised qualifications in automation were launched and are now being leveraged to develop new training programs in Queensland as part of an initiative known as the Queensland Future Skills Partnership.

Rio will contribute $2 million towards the new training program.

"Australian industry is a global leader in innovation, made possible by the ingenuity, skill, diversity and capability of the people that make up its workforce," Rio vice president human resources, iron ore Scott Browne said.

"When Rio Tinto and the WA Government developed the automation qualifications in partnership with South Metropolitan TAFE, we had aspirations that they would be picked up across Australia and be used to build the capability of not only our existing workforce, who are working in an increasingly technology enabled environment, but also the broader Australian workforce across a range of sectors."

Rio is also working with North Metropolitan TAFE (NM TAFE) to help address a critical skills shortage in the rail industry in WA.