Jun 14th, 2022


According to the Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association (AREEA), the Australian resources and energy sector will need over 24,400 new workers by 2026 to support its pipeline of 98 new and expansion projects.

Outlined in the release of the Resources and Energy Forecast (2021-2026) report, AREEA found that one of the WA mining industry’s most in-demand occupations for this period was 1,411 heavy diesel fitters. Trumping this was plant operators, requiring an eye-watering 4,228 workers by 2026.

Thankfully for Schlam, mechanical specialists make up the backbone of its workforce and attracts some of the best talent in the country. Recognising the need to empower its employees to upskill in preparation for this demand, Schlam is encouraging its workforce more than ever to undertake a trade upgrade.

Take Jarrad Bishaw for example. Jarrad is one of Schlam’s Diesel Mechanics who recently completed his trade upgrade. Having had an established career in heavy road transport, Jarrad has since moved into mobile plant operations with a newly awarded Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology through the Australian Skills Group (ASG).

“A trade upgrade is something I have always wanted to work towards, with the goal to venture out even further to become a Drill Fitter someday.” He said. “This certification is going to enable me to get to that pathway sooner.”

Jarrad recommends having an upfront conversation about your career with your employer so they can better understand where you aim to be and what you hope to achieve. He also believes that staying with one company, that supports your career is a great strategy to achieve your career goals.

“With Schlam, I get a wider range of on-the-job experience, which makes me a better mechanic overall,” Jarrad explained. “If you want to make it happen, you can. You just need to be proactive and know what your goals are and what you want to achieve,” he continues.

So, what does a trade upgrade program look like? According to Rian Garland from ASG, the process is quite simple.

“Everyone undertakes a thorough pre-assessment, or what we like to call the information-gathering stage,” Rian explains. “A formal interview is followed to establish the technical knowledge base of the candidate. They then continue to complete a theory and practical assessment too. This is when we understand if the candidate can be awarded RPL or decide if they need further gap training.”

Being computer literate and being self-motivated is essential to a Trade Upgrade program.

“Jarrad was a prime candidate for a trade upgrade. With a comprehensive automotive HV qualification, he was as close as we can get to already having completed at least half of the recognised prior learning units,” Rian said. “His positive attitude and being motivated was what made Jarrad stand out.”

Rian explains that now is the ideal time for more people to sign up and complete their trade upgrade with current labour shortages, combined with new mines coming into production.

“All large tier 1 mining companies require job-ready workers; therefore, it is essential that candidates put their best foot forward by having the highest trade qualification they can achieve,” he said.

“If you wanted to be ready for a project role and an opportunity for promotion, the best advice I can give is to have your qualification ready to go.”

Congratulations Jarrad!

If you want to learn more about our Trade Upgrade Program, speak to our recruitment team today RECRUITMENT@SCHLAM.COM


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