Mining heavyweights BHP, Roy Hill and Alcoa have joined forces with universities and the CSIRO to develop a new data science training centre to upskill workers in the local resources sector.
The $3.9 million Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance being funded by the Australian Research Council will be based at Curtin University and will be supported by Adelaide and Western Australia universities.
Federal Education and Training Minister Senator Simon Birmingham says the new centre will equip engineers and graduates with data analytics skills to better manage the vast and expensive array of assets owned by mining and energy operators around the country.
The centre’s director, professor Andrew Rohl, said the effective maintenance of those assets is essential for the $205 billion annual output of the Australian resources sector.
“However, maintenance management practices have changed little in the last 20 years and are ripe for a digital overhaul that will bring developments in computational methods, statistics, applied mathematics and artificial intelligence to determine how, when and why maintenance is conducted,” said Rohl.
“The new centre, which will bring together the relevant research and industry expertise, will enable the development and adoption of new practices to improve productivity and asset reliability for industry and to foster a new maintenance technology service sector for national and international markets.”
The training centre won't just be for new recruits either. It's specifically being pitched at helping existing workers broaden their career options in the rapidly automating sector where roles are constantly changing.
“This initiative also serves to develop and re-skill those workers currently engaged in the sector so that they are better able to adapt to the changing industry,” Federal Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator Michaelia Cash added.