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Women make up 40 percent of BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) apprentice intake this year, and they have been put through their paces in Moranbah over the past month to prepare them for their new careers.

A total of 41 new apprentices undertook the work readiness program – 16 of them women – at the Moranbah Blue Shed, which replicates their future work environment.

BMA Asset President James Palmer said this year’s apprentice intake was a diverse group.

“We have a great mix in this intake of apprentices from school leavers through to experienced workers, Indigenous people, men and women,” he said.

The apprentices will commence work at BMA’s Goonyella Riverside, Peak Downs, Saraji, Broadmeadow and Blackwater mines as well as the Hay Point coal terminal on Monday, March 4th after completing the program at the Coalfield Training Excellence Centre.

“The work-readiness program ensures our apprentices are prepared and understand BMA’s work culture and safety standards, ensuring a safe and seamless transition to work,” Mr Palmer said.

The program is run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

Katrina-Lee Jones, QRC’s Director Skills Education and Diversity said she was pleased to see women make up 50 percent of BMA’s apprentices, with QRC and QMEA striving to increase the proportion of women in ‘non-traditional’ roles including trades to at least 20 percent by 2020.

“Currently that figure is 14 percent, up from 6 percent in 2016,” said Ms Jones.

“QMEA has a great track record of encouraging girls into trade careers with 11 percent of female QMEA students entering a mining-related apprenticeship or traineeship compared to just 1.1 percent of females in non-QMEA schools,” she said.

“BMA’s efforts towards gender parity across all occupations in its business by 2025 will help us to get close to the 2020 industry goal.”

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