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Western Australia Government Awards Scholarships for Vital Mining Skills

Australian Mining Industry

The Western Australian government recently reaffirmed its commitment to the development of mining skills-set throughout the state. This has been illustrated through the award of two metallurgy and mining engineering scholarships. According to Norman Moore, the Mines and Petroleum minister, the scholarships will see the winners to study at the renowned Curtin University's Western Australian School of Mines Kalgoorlie-Boulder campus for 4 years.

The 2013 scholarships were awarded to Enrik Mundt and Calum Hill. The Mines and Petroleum minister congratulated the two winners upon their receipt of the scholarships offered by the Department of Mines and Petroleum. The incredible scholarships are valued at $24000 each.

He explained that the two students have demonstrated unwavering passion and great prowess for education. The scholarships awarded to them therefore give them an incredible opportunity to sharpen their knowledge by studying in one of the world's leading mining and minerals educational facility in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

The minister further pointed that the scholarship program by the government is very important for the continued growth of Western Australia's resource center. It will help in solidifying the state's position as the undoubted nation's economic powerhouse for many years ahead. He outlined that it is imperative to support and harness these kinds of academic pursuits for today's students will be the leader of tomorrow.

The scholarship was initiated in 1985. The aim was to attract intelligent students to the Western Australian School of Mines. Since then, the program has been highly successful and has contributed to the development and unprecedented advancement of the mining industry. In the past four years alone, the government has spent more than $190,000 in the program. The government efforts have been lauded by all stakeholders in the mining sector.

Today, there is a high shortage of skills and the demand for jobs in the Australian mining sector. Acquainting the youth with these vital skills is more important than ever before. The government is cognizant of this fact and this is best illustrated by its scholarship program aimed at attracting the best students to the mining industry.

According to the Minerals Counci of Australia, there is a need for 86,000 additional professionals and skilled workers in the mining industry by 2020. This is a tough calling that requires training of more mining professionals and skilled workers to meet this predicted demand. The scholarships are a great step towards that direction.

The main challenge that discourages people from working in Australian mines is the fact that most of them are located in rural and remote areas. This is a hindrance to the mining authorities' attempts to attract top talent to the mining industry. However, this challenge can be overcome by a rise in the wages of all mine workers. Again, this may prove to be unsustainable solution for the majors who cannot afford to increase salaries every year, and also for the small companies which cannot afford exorbitant salaries for their mine workers.

According to Deloitte, the solution lies in the training of local talent, cross-training existing workers and sponsoring university programs offering mining skills. This can be supplemented by behaving in a socially responsible manner. The scholarships are therefore well-poised to help in uplifting the mining industry.

More Stories By Anne Lee

Anne Lee is a freelance technology journalist, a wife and a mother of two.