Mining Apprentices Settle in to New Future Careers

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A dynamic dozen of new Hunter Valley Operations’ apprentices has settled into building skills and careers for a successful future.

Two of the first year apprentices are 17 year old Ashley and 26 year old Josh.

Ashley said he wanted an electrical apprenticeship in mining because it is a good industry to get into that gets you hands on skills.

“I am looking forward to learning lots of things off everyone,” Ashley said.

Josh went to university and previously worked in retail. He said a career in mining is better suited to him.

“There’s lots of opportunity in the mining industry and I thought a hands on job was better suited to me,” Josh said.

HVO’s Learning and Development Co-ordinator Paul Watters said 12 is one of the highest number of first year apprentices HVO has put on in recent times. This year’s intake has five high voltage electrical apprentices, two auto electrical apprentices and five plant mechanic apprentices. This takes the total number of apprentices at HVO to 32.

After an initial one-week induction, including training in working at heights, the apprentices have settled in to a work readiness program run through Hunter V Tec. Here they learn how to use tools safely and work on some major projects including building a vice and a working piston pump.

After between six and eight months, the apprentices will return to HVO full time to complete several month rotations through different work areas until third and fourth year when they are assigned to a crew. Throughout their apprenticeship they study at TAFE too, gaining nationally accredited qualifications.

Paul said apprentices are an important part of HVO’s strategy to combat ongoing skills shortages and create the next generation of tradespeople for business and industry success.

“Our apprenticeship program gives local people a very beneficial opportunity to gain a trade and future employment in the Hunter Valley,” Paul said.

“People get to work close to home without the need to travel to a remote location or fly in fly out. They earn while they learn. Retaining their current lifestyle without having to uproot themselves,” he said.

“Our apprentices get to work along-side and learn from amazing HVO tradespeople, some of whom have 30 to 40 years’ experience to pass on.”

Paul has worked at HVO for 12 years and moved into the apprenticeship program role 12 months ago. He remembers starting as an electrical apprentice in another industry and uses that first-hand experience to guide and mentor apprentices.  Paul encourages apprentices to observe keenly and to ask questions, especially to absorb HVO’s strong safety culture and learn to identify and how to control hazards.

He speaks to apprentices about perception and credibility.

“Being engaged, having a go, and demonstrating work ethic helps to build long term skills and a rewarding and successful career.”

“The program is about creating leaders as well as skilled tradespeople. I love watching how our recently graduated apprentices take the new apprentices under their wing.” 

HVO recruits apprentices through the Glencore Coal Australia apprenticeship program. Applications for 2024 apprenticeships will open May 17. Visit

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