New skills for autonomous workers a step closer

Published:13 December 2019

TAFE Qld Executive Director Robert Petherbridge and CQUni Pro Vice-Chancellor (VET Operations and Growth) Peter Heilbuth

TAFE Qld Executive Director Robert Petherbridge and CQUni Pro Vice-Chancellor (VET Operations and Growth) Peter Heilbuth.

TAFE Queensland has today advertised for a Program Manager to oversee the development and rollout of new automation qualifications and skills, as part of its recently announced Queensland Future Skills Partnership with CQUniversity and BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).

The partnership will guide the work required to identify and build the future skills needed in Queensland’s resources workforce, including the mapping of existing skills against the future requirements for Industry 4.0, according to TAFE Queensland Executive Director Robert Petherbridge.

“We know that as the world of work changes and the rate of occupational change increases due to new technology adoption, the need to re-skill and up-skill the existing workforce is more critical than ever,” he said.

The key aim of the Queensland Future Skills Partnership is to facilitate the development and delivery of new qualifications in open-cut mining operations.

BMA last month announced it would introduce autonomous haulage trucks at Goonyella Riverside mine in Central Queensland. Asset President James Palmer said the Queensland Future Skills Partnership will drive innovation in new approaches to skilling the resources industry workforce for jobs of the future.

“As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, we are considering how we transform our technology and our workforce,” he said. “The partnership will define the first wave of new skills that are required to support technological advances, and to establish the educational opportunities for individuals to acquire these skills,” Mr Palmer said.

“We are keen to explore the potential opportunity for a new traineeship qualification and expanding existing trade apprenticeships to include autonomous competencies as well as an entry pathway for autonomous mine controllers,” he said.

Mr Petherbridge said that the partnership was an excellent example of Queensland’s public training providers coming together with industry to support new and emerging skill needs impacting Queensland.

“It is great to be working with BMA as an industry partner who is committed to growing their own workforce to meet the skill needs of tomorrow, at the same time as increasing the availability of new training programs in regional areas,” he said.

CQUniversity Pro Vice-Chancellor, Vocational Education and Training, Mr Peter Heilbuth explained that the partnership was an important step forward when it comes to engaging with industry and delivering future-focused skills training.

“CQUniversity is excited about this innovative partnership with BMA and TAFE Queensland,” Mr Heilbuth said.

“We are committed to the delivery of high-quality vocational training and working with industry to produce highly skilled workforces.

“This skills partnership will be a gamechanger when it comes to developing innovative training, that supports future workforce requirements within the mining industry,” he said.

Further information about the opportunity to be the Queensland Future Skills Partnership Manager is available on SEEK. Applications close 18 January, 2020.


  • The Queensland Future Skills Partnership is a three-way partnership between BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), TAFE Queensland and CQUniversity Australia.
  • The partnership will facilitate the fast-tracked development and delivery of new autonomy-related qualifications in open-cut mining operations in Queensland.
  • A Program Management Office is now being established to manage the program of work, resulting in this exciting opportunity for an experienced project manager.


  • The Partnership Manager will lead the Program Management Office in managing this ground-breaking project.
  • The Partnership Manager will also develop, coordinate and administer the project plan, timelines and outcomes on behalf of the three partners (BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), TAFE Queensland and CQUniversity Australia).