A new skills shortage looms in Western Australia as fears of automation turns workers away

"There are hundreds of mine sites that do not and would not [automate] because of the costs involved and they are going to continue on with drivers as they have done in the past."


George Rebeiro from Programmed, a major provider of staff to the mining industry, said after the last mining boom many workers moved into other industries or returned to their home states.


With the return in confidence to the mining sector there is now an immediate requirement for skilled labour.


"It's the perfect storm at the moment. Everything is happening at once," Mr Rebeiro said.


"Production has increased, automation projects are in play, new pits in existing mines are being developed, new mines are maturing."

"The highest demand will be in the next three years and as an industry we need to see leadership by growing our own trades, by planning and investing now."

Those in the training sphere say the resources industry will now have to work hard to attract skilled labour.


While the number of apprenticeships in WA rose 7.3 per cent in the 12 months to the end of March, it will take up to four years for those students to hit the workforce.


"We have got to plan through the down periods as well," Mr Walker said.


"I understand you can't have the same number of trainees or apprentices going through, but you still need to plan for when we come out of that, you have got the people there."


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