Production Mining Training in Australia

We have all been there, at the bottom of the page on Seek (or the side). That link that promises to lead to a production mining course, that is going to teach you something/anything about production mining. Instead, you get project management or OH&S courses (here we go down the white rabbit hole of production mining training in Australia). Completely useless when it comes to getting a start in a production mining job. If you dive in a little deeper, then you will find the outlines of the RII certificate 2-4 in underground operations. There are so many units listed. But try as you might, you won’t find an RTO, to provide a course to do.

This is because none of the hardrock underground mines in Australia (Gold, Copper, Nickel, Lead, Zinc, Silver and everything except coal) can use these formal qualifications. All the hardrock underground mines have to issue their own equipment tickets and procedures on site. These are non-transferable tickets. This means that the 3 day truck driving RII tickets are useless, for the hardrock underground production mining jobs. The last TAFE to run a course I know of, was in Bendigo Victoria, that stopped years ago. So why are there so many units but no courses?

In 2007, a couple of the larger underground contractor companies turned their training departments into RTO’s. They did this in the hope of being able to issue one ticket/ procedure that covers all their mines. The idea was to turn each ticket/procedure into a unit and get the staff to sit each unit. That way when their staff moved sites, they wouldn’t have redo all their tickets/procedures. They spent millions of dollars to put it into place. Only to have the mines inspectors say, “NO, we like the system just the way it is, thank you very much”.

In their opinion (the mines department), requiring each mine site to have its own set of paperwork, has been a key part of improving safety. Having watched the vast improvement in safety over the last 27years, it’s hard to argue with them. This means that even though there are many units. No one is going to be putting a course together anytime soon. The two mining companies that own all the information in the units, aren’t going to share anytime soon, either.

The other problem with TAFE based courses is time. All the courses run in the past, were all 6months plus. This is for information that most companies expect a new starter to pick up in the first couple of swings on site. This is why formal qualifications (for the crew jobs) are seen as a useless expense. Employers just aren’t going to buy into it. Not when they have to put every new employee though all their onsite paper work, no exceptions, every time. So, if there is no formal training what is the alternative?

Recognising that the system isn’t going to change any time soon. A group of ticketed WA shift bosses came together to write a training package for a new starter to get a production mining job. Underground Training (a Western Australia company) was set up. The company offers training packages, written using the WA Mining Act & Regs as the standard. The training is designed to help a new starter get a production mining job and survive the first 6months on site. Originally a 3day sit down course, the information has now been put online in 4 online courses and a seminar.

The training not only teachers how the mine works, it also goes into great detail about the information your buddy should be showing you on the job, down the hole. The seminar has interview prep and detailed instructions on how to write a mining friendly resume. If you want some help getting in, have a look at the W1N W1N or the Workready packages. If you can talk to the employer about how their mine works then you have something to offer them.

Over the years I have been involved with the training and teaching people. Just about everyone that has done the training and followed the instructions gets an interview. Then it’s up to you to show the employers that you studied. Once the employer works out you know the rules, language and what is going on, it’s an easy decision to hire. However, the employers have been doing this for a while now. So it’s just as easy to spot someone that hasn’t studied and is trying to halfass their way into the industry.  It’s easy for employers to say, thanks but no thanks, to people like that.

The “Do it yourself” DIY Introduction to underground mining package comes with the 4 online courses plus a seminar. It gives you all the important mining knowledge the employers want. It covers the Nipper, Truck Operator, Offsider, Agi driver and Service Crew/Paste Crew jobs. These are the entry level production mining jobs on Hardrock Underground Gold, Nickel, Copper, Silver, Zinc or Base Metals mines around the country. You just have to type “underground” into seek and you will see all the production mining jobs come up around the country

If you want to get onto a career path into the Hardrock Underground Industry, then get your mining knowledge up to speed and start applying today. If you want to talk to someone leave your details in the link.

Good luck, hope everyone gets the mining job they want.


The Mining Coach