Rio, WA team up for next generation

19 February, 2024

The Western Australian Government has allocated a landmark investment of $9.9 million towards TAFE industry placement programs. Rio Tinto has taken a leading role in this initiative.

The objective of this investment is to facilitate the connection between WA TAFE college lecturers and industry placements.

Since the inception of the program, numerous lecturers from North Metropolitan TAFE (NM TAFE) have completed placements at Rio Tinto’s Perth operations center, gaining valuable insights into the company’s autonomous operations.

Furthermore, Rio Tinto has extended its support by hosting NM TAFE lecturer placements at its Yandicoogina (Yandi) iron ore mine in the Pilbara region, with a total of three placements concluded at both sites by the conclusion of 2023.

Adrian Fallon, an electrical instrumentation lecturer at NM TAFE, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity, highlighting how his placements provided him with valuable insights into the dynamics between the remote operations team and the on-site first responders. He expressed his eagerness to integrate his learnings into his teaching, particularly in areas related to safety, troubleshooting, and process optimisation.

The program places a premium on placements in industries undergoing rapid technological advancements or intricate shifts in work practices, areas facing skills shortages, and industries with substantial growth potential or opportunities for economic diversification.

Matt Kimball, Rio Tinto’s Vice President of People, emphasised the significance of these placements in preparing the next generation of workers, who may eventually contribute to the company’s operations. He stressed the mutual benefit, as it allows Rio Tinto to recruit individuals equipped with relevant skills while empowering students to maximise their educational experiences and launch their careers effectively.

Over the course of 2022 and 2023, a total of 428 lecturers participated in industry placements across the five WA TAFE colleges, with participation increasing to 301 in 2023 from 127 in 2022.