West Coast to get mining school
Degrees in mining will be offered by West Coast's Tai Poutini Polytechnic as part of its new School of Mining.
The polytechnic announced yesterday it planned to establish the school to boost access to industry training because of an acute shortage of trained professionals in mining nationwide.
''The extractive industry is strong and growing but there is a severe shortage of trained staff and the industry tells us they need this sort of school to meet their training needs,'' polytechnic board chairman Graeme McNally said yesterday.
It would start next year and would offer training at multiple sites around the country, including the West Coast, and would access Australian courses and expertise, particularly for the degree programme.
The move came at a time when the New Zealand economy increasingly relied on the minerals industry for export earnings. West Coast mining was worth close to a billion dollars to the national economy, employing 5000 people directly and indirectly, he said.
Minerals West Coast manager Peter O'Sullivan said the school was an exciting initiative.
''One of the major issues that is holding back our minerals industry is the reliance on experienced professionals from offshore. We need to develop some homegrown talent and the School of Mining will facilitate this and offer clear pathways for career development.''
It planned to work with other institutions in New Zealand and Australia to access degree level training, which it hoped to offer by appropriate tertiary education providers from 2014.
The polytechnic's chief executive, Allan Sargison, said it was ready to respond to any training recommendations from the royal commission into the Pike River coalmine tragedy, which was due to report to the Government by September 28.
''The programmes have already been structured in a way that we can incorporate the post-Pike regime in terms of training needs and we are ready to act as soon as the Government responds to the commission of inquiry's recommendations.''
A lack of suitable training for miners was raised as an issue during the royal commission's public hearings last July.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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