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Making More Miners

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The mining industry is a major employer in NSW offering close to 30,000 direct jobs, many in regional areas. At the end of last financial year only 19% of employees in the Australian mining industry were female. While this is an increase on 16% from 2017, there is still much work to do to achieve gender balance.

However, the future is looking bright if the female to male ratio in the TAFE NSW Muswellbrook Mining and Energy Skills Program is any indication of progress. Over its 17 years the number of female participants in the program has risen from 0 to 11 and this year they make up 36% of the class, which is almost double the industry average.

Mining and Energy skills graduate and current Diploma of Electrical Engineering student Lauren Booth is a prime example of the high calibre of female graduates produced in the program, having taken home a TAFE NSW Excellence Award for Infrastructure, Energy and Construction Student of the Year.

Lauren participated in the program in 2019 and completed a Certificate in Electrotechnology, as well as a Certificate IV in Industrial Electronics and Control. Lauren is now back for a further qualification while working at Hunter Valley Operations with the aim of being the crucial link between professional engineers and hands on tradespeople.

“I love what I do. TAFE NSW gave me the practical skills I needed and get into the industry faster. Now I’ve got myself a trade and have had some time working in the industry, I’ve turned back to TAFE NSW to deepen my knowledge and help me take my career to the next level.”

TAFE NSW Electrotechnology Teacher Darren Ward said resource companies are making considerable efforts to attract and retain women.

“TAFE NSW takes pride in our role of teaching, mentoring and encouraging our female students to become fully qualified and confident industry participants.

“In developing the next generation of industry leaders, regardless of gender, a critical component is ensuring access to high quality education and training. TAFE NSW work closely with some of the Hunter’s biggest employers to ensure we give all apprentices the abilities, knowledge and ‘seam to sea’ exposure they need to be job-ready.”

Delivered from the purpose built Mining and Energy Skills Centre at TAFE NSW Muswellbrook, the six-month program is a unique offering that complements the course delivery for trade qualifications in the electro-technology, engineering- mechanical trade and mobile plant technology disciplines. 

For more information about engineering or electrotechnology courses at TAFE NSW or via TAFE Digital, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.

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