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Pathways to future jobs expand with Autonomous Workplace course

14 March 2022

A group of regional high school students are helping to future proof their career choices by learning vital skills in automation.

South Regional TAFE Albany and Collie will run the Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations this Semester.

Students from four high schools, Collie Senior High School, Albany Senior High School, Mount Barker Community College and St Joseph’s College Albany, will be the first course participants in the Southern Region of Western Australia.

The qualification is supported by Rio Tinto and the Western Australian Government. The course was first piloted by a group of Rio Tinto Iron Ore employees in 2019.

South Regional TAFE A/Managing Director Kathy Keay said it was exciting to see students in the regional campuses starting their training.

“It’s important for students to learn about current trends in Automation and how these might develop in workplaces, especially in the resources sector.

“This course connects directly with job pathways and future development in industry.”

More than 20 per cent of jobs in the resources sector in Australia have been partially or fully automated over the past five years, according to the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy.

Rio Tinto Capability Development General Manager Ron Mutambiranwa said:

 “In conjunction with our industry partners, the South Metropolitan TAFE and the Western Australian Government, we are proud to have developed the first nationally recognised vocational education and training accreditation for Automation.

“Rio Tinto is committed to investing in education systems to ensure our future workforce has the skills needed for the jobs of the future.

“We hope this qualification will give young West Australian students the opportunity to build cutting-edge skills and create new career pathways.”

The Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations enables students to gain valuable insight into the technology being used and pursue further training in the resources industry.

The students will learn in a new classroom with equipment provided as part of the WA State Government’s $25 million TAFE Training Equipment Refresh Program which was announced in Collie last year.

South Regional TAFE Training Manager Lee-Anne Smith said students would learn about automated processes across a range of industries.

Students will gain an understanding of how to safely work within an autonomous workplace through interaction with simulated plant operations and robotics," she said. 

Lecturer Greg Thomson is teaching the Collie course. He said the course would provide students with an understanding of emerging technologies.

The skills gained could lead to an apprenticeship or a traineeship in the resources sector.

“The aim of the course is to inspire the students to develop an appreciation of the automation industry."