BHP (ASX, NYSE: BHP), the world’s largest miner, announced that it is committing to fund 3,500 new Australian apprenticeship and training positions, and driving up to $450 million into supporting business opportunities in Australia’s mining, equipment, technology and services sector.
The nearly $800-million package is expected to be deployed over the next five years and will focus on creating 2,500 apprenticeships and traineeships through the BHP FutureFit Academy, with associated spending of $300 million.
The plan will also launch 1,000 skills development opportunities across a range of sectors in regional areas with BHP investing $30 million and working with the Australian Government to create advanced apprenticeships and short courses in areas of potential future workforce demand.
A third component of the initiative is the miner’s commitment to spend $450 million in contracts with Australian METS companies and to working directly and through its major technology providers to source more local products and services, as well as investing in technology pilots and emerging businesses.
“Providing apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for Australians of all ages and all walks of life, particularly in our regional communities, is a commitment we can make to help Australia bounce back,” BHP’s CEO, Mike Henry, said in a media statement. “These investments will create a pipeline of future talent in highly skilled roles, working in an industry that delivers essential products to the world and generates export dollars that keep the Australian economy strong.”
At present, BHP employs approximately 45,000 people in Australia, and in the 2020 financial year contributed approximately $33.4 billion to the country’s economy.