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For love or money: Miners 'crying out' for graduates despite soaring salaries

Business

For years the mining industry has tried to lure graduates to the industry and failed. Now it’s ramping up its push into schools.

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Many parents have been wary of encouraging their children into a mining career because of its boom-bust nature. 

And it doesn’t take much convincing for many. The environmental battles waged by the sector over the past decade has meant younger generations have been looking elsewhere.

The huge money on offer (average income for engineers is $181,000) has not been enough. In recent years the number of people studying mining engineering at university in Brisbane has dropped to single figures.

Recently, the Queensland Resources Council said there were 1129 jobs advertised in the areas of mining, resources and energy, with 821 paying more than $100,000 a year.

In May, total job advertisements across all industries in Queensland were up more than 160 per cent on May 2020.

Now the sector is on the hunt for at least 50 Gen Z students to register their interest in studying mining engineering as part of a campaign to address a chronic skills shortage.

 The QRC has launched a statewide digital campaign to attract the attention of high schoolers or first-year university students to choose mining engineering as a career. 

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said resources companies were “crying out to employ more mining engineers’’. 

 “Queensland’s resources sector is poised to become a global energy superpower, thanks to growing world demand for our traditional and new economy minerals, but we need more mining engineering students coming through our universities to add their expertise to our industry,”  Macfarlane said. 

“Our sector operates under the world’s strictest environmental laws and will play an important role in providing the raw materials for low-emissions technologies of the future, so we need to employ more engineers and innovators with high-level technology skills now.   

“The resources sector is always looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of our operations, and a job as a mining engineer offers young people the chance to make a difference.” 

 Its education arm, the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy has been working with schools and now has 80 on its books as partners from an initial 18 and it said there was a growing interest on the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

 QRC’s Katrina Lee Jones said the QMEA said there was a shift in attitudes.

 “Jobs in Queensland’s resources sector are usually very well paid with good conditions and offer training and career path opportunities, and I think people, particularly the parents of young people, are starting to realise these jobs could set their children up for life,’’ she said.. 

 “The resources sector is Queensland’s largest private employer of Indigenous people, and we’ve increased the participation rate of women in our workforce by 52 percent over the past five years,” she said. 

 

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