Monday 16th Dec, 2019

Rio Tinto and WA launch automation TAFE course

Mark McGowan at Rio's Dampier operations. Photo: Facebook / Mark McGowan

The Western Australian Government, Rio Tinto and South Metropolitan TAFE have partnered to launch an Australian-first automation-focused course, the Certificate IV in Autonomous Control and Remote Operations.

The course has been approved by the WA training accreditation council and is the highest-level accredited automation course to date. It follows the accreditation of the Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations earlier this year.

Current and future resource industry workers will now have the opportunity to learn the required skills to work at facilities such as Rio Tinto’s remote operations centre in Perth.

The course aims include integrated learning, giving students the chance to apply their new skills to work-related scenarios in the control centre, giving them hands on experience and knowledge of Rio Tinto’s operations.

Rio Tinto iron ore Chief Executive Chris Salisbury said as technology and innovation continued to bring changes to the industry, the company would continue to support development of qualifications such as this one.

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“Rio Tinto has committed $2 million to the development of these qualifications, which come at a critical time for the industry as we look to keep pace with rapid changes,” Salisbury said.

“The key to any technology is our people, and that’s why training and development is so important.

“These qualifications will provide employees, both current and future with the skills and training needed to thrive in our evolving industry.”

Western Australia aims to be a world leader in the development of autonomous technologies in the resources sector, paving the way from education to employment in growing industries.

Thirty Rio Tinto employees will participate in the initial pilot course, which will be delivered by South Metropolitan TAFE in 2020, then if successful, the first course could start in 2021.