The Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) has urged the Federal government to invest in training, skills, and employment initiatives to ensure the sector can reach its workforce needs.
The call comes after the release of the 2013 Resource Sector Skills Needs report from the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA), which found that the country’s resources activity is rapidly shifting and demand for skills may not be met.
Scott Barklamb, AMMA executive, said that while the industry has been preparing for changing skills requirement for some time, more must be done.
“The resource industry believes a continued and expanded focus on skills development and helping workers transition to areas of opportunity are critical,” Barklamb said.
“Further opportunities to collaborate with the Australian government on skills and employment initiatives will help ensure all Australians can connect with the vast employment opportunities offered by our growing sector.”
The AWPA report found that employment in resources project construction will peak at about 83,000 next year before declining to just under 8000 in 2018, meaning tens of thousands of trades workers will need to transition to the broader construction workforce or gain new skills to perform longer-term operational jobs in the resources sector.
The oil and gas operations subsector is expected to produce the most jobs, increasing 57 per cent from around 39,000 in 2013 to 61,000 in 2018. The AWPA reports that this area is likely to see an acute undersupply of workers with the appropriate skills, and with Australia embarking on major liquefied natural gas and coal seam gas projects, the shortage is concerning.
The report recommends collaboration between the government and industry stakeholders to develop and pilot a national program for apprentices and trainees to provide clear pathways to the liquefied natural gas sector and ensure the supply of long-term technical skills.