Could tertiary qualified professionals within the coal industry become a source of talent for the broader metalliferous industry?
I last wrote about the idea of making internships a more widely accepted approach to employment of undergraduates within the resources sector as a way of helping mitigate the current skills shortage. Coincidentally, a week after I wrote about this, the West Australian School of Mines introduced an online course allowing people to study various aspects of mining whilst undertaking full time work. Interestingly, the course is offered for free unless accreditation is required. Even the paid option was typically only circa $500 per unit. Whilst there's still lots more other educational institutions can do, it is a good start and hopefully will gather steam.
My second idea involves the recognition of tertiary qualified professionals within the coal industry, becoming a source of talent for the broader metalliferous industry….................
As a global society, we are witnessing the demand for green, clean technology taking the place of fossil fuels. As this change gathers pace, we can expect the progressive decline of the Australian coal industry. This will take decades to play out ultimately. In the meantime, we are already witnessing somewhat of a downturn, with a number of operations in both NSW and Qld, being unable to implement expansions to their licenses that would have extended their mine life.
Accordingly, we are already witnessing professionals from the coal sector searching for new employment. Historically, there seems to have been some aversion by the metalliferous industry to employ people from the coal sector.
However, if you consider the other widely touted option of heading offshore for talent, then to me at least, it seems much more prudent to facilitate the transition of talent between the two industries.
Either option involves training and relocation. However, securing talent from within Australia reduces this requirement and removes another unknown, being the cultural alignment of these people within Australia's highly dynamic and flexible work culture.
Again, food for thought.
I'm keen to hear your thoughts – good, bad or indifferent.