Careers & Training

TAFE Queensland: Training workers of the future

High school students across Queensland are completing TAFE Queensland training in a Certificate II in Automation, a course designed in conjunction with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) in order to train the next generation of the workforce in autonomous skills.

Currently in its pilot phase at a select group of schools from Brisbane to Blackwater, the course takes 18 months for students to complete, and the first students are set to finish at the end of 2022 in Mackay.

A testament to TAFE Queensland’s ability to adapt with industry over its 140-year history, the course is designed to introduce students to automation concepts so they have a fundamental understanding of the evolving workforce they will be entering in years to come.

This is in conjunction with the ‘Industry 4.0’ movement which involves the automation of many industrial processes and the increase of remote work through connected, off-site controllers to operate on-site machinery.

Students of the course have a heavy focus on work with drones and Virtual Reality headsets to control movements which are predictable and repetitive in nature, such as a truck driving the same path out of a mine.

Students have had high praise for the course so far, touting its positives over traditional school learning which is not as industry driven as that at TAFE Queensland.

Participant Samuel Kirkman from Dysart State High School said he has always been interested in technology and thanks to this opportunity he is now gaining valuable skills for future industries.

“I have already learnt subjects and disciplines that wouldn’t have been available through normal avenues,” Kirkman said.

Meanwhile Alexandra Hills Senior College student, Kyle Pannan, said the course will provide skills to prepare him for the workforce of the future.

“This course will give us the critical thinking skills to think like a computer and fit in, in an increasingly technological world,” he said.

In order to provide quality training in this new field of industry, TAFE Queensland has not only consulted with BMA but has brought on new teachers with current industry expertise in automation to create and teach the course.

One such teacher is Derek Athanassiou who previously worked for Rockwell Automation, a company which provides automation solutions for a wide range of industries including transport, infrastructure, automotive, and many more.

Athanassiou saw many possible avenues of further studies for students who enjoyed this course including a Certificate III in Instrumentation and Control or a Certificate IV in Industrial Automation and Control, although participants will take into their career a basic understanding of automation work regardless of further study.

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