Mining giant Rio Tinto’s partnership with South Metropolitan TAFE (SM TAFE) in Western Australia has been recognised at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics 2020 Awards of Excellence.
The partnership won Gold in the ‘Partnership with Industry’ category for its work in developing and deploying the first nationally recognised vocational qualifications in automation.
The World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics is an international network of colleges and national and regional associations of colleges. A total of 113 nominations were received for the awards from organisations around the world.
In 2017, Rio Tinto committed $2 million towards the development of automation qualifications to provide pathways to emerging jobs in the field of automation.
Rio has been automating its mine to port supply chain in the Pilbara in WA, becoming a world leader in field robotics and remote operation of equipment such as trucks, trains and ship loaders.
Since then, pilots for a Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations, as well as a Certificate IV in Remote Centre Operations, have been completed with broader enrolments planned for 2021.
A pilot micro credential Course in Working Effectively in an Automated Environment qualification is ongoing with wider enrolment options planned for 2022.
Vice president of human resources from Rio Tinto Scott Browne said: “Our partnership with South Metropolitan TAFE has been vitally important in terms of providing workers in the resources sector, and others looking to join it, with new pathways to the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in an increasingly STEM-based world.
“We are delighted to win this award which is a recognition of the bridge this partnership has built between STEM and formal education in the workplace and is a demonstration of what can be delivered when industry, government and education work together.”
Earlier this year, Rio Tinto committed funding toward the upskilling of out of work apprentices across various industries by covering their fees for the recently accredited micro credential Course in Working Effectively in an Automated Environment qualification. This initiative will be expanded to selected regional TAFEs in 2021.
Picture: South Metropolitan TAFE
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