The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has announced plans to set up three new mining skills project hubs to support the development of Australia’s future minerals workforce.

The project hubs include an apprenticeships hub that aims to create 5,000 new apprenticeships to modernise trades training, as well as education and development.

According to MCA, two other skills project hubs include a digital transformation hub and an attraction and retention hub.

The digital transformation hub will enable faster delivery of training products for automation. It also specialises in the application of digital technologies.

Meanwhile, the attraction and retention hub will help in applying test strategies that attract people with partial or transferable skills to move into the mining sector.

In a press statement, MCA CEO Tania Constable said: “Australia’s minerals industry already has a strong relationship with the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, with ABS data showing more than one-third of the mining workforce holds core trades qualifications at Certificate III or Certificate IV level.

“A more responsive and flexible VET system which improves skills delivery and enhances the learner’s experience will ensure the industry has access to the skilled talent pipeline it needs to continue creating highly skilled, highly paid jobs and making a significant contribution to the national economy.”

These project hubs are part of the industry-led Mining Skills Organisation Pilot led by MCA.

The pilot programme is supported by partners across the mining industry as well as the Australian Government. Through this programme, the mining industry has the ‘flexibility to trial new approaches’ to skills development.

In June, MCA released a Climate Action Plan to set out plans to achieve net-zero emissions in the country, as well as worldwide.

In February last year, the council voiced its concern over new industrial manslaughter laws in the Australian state of Victoria. It stated that harsher sentences for managers and senior staff will not contribute to improved operational health and safety in the sector.