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Young Indigenous Australians working in mining

Young Indigenous Australians working in mining

Young Indigenous workers are well represented in the latest Queensland mining employment growth.

Almost 40 per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mining industry workforce is under the age of 30, according to Energy Skills Queensland’s (ESQ) 2013 Heartbeat Report.

This has caused the average age of Indigenous mining employees to hit 36 years old, compared to the overall workforce average of 40.

The Heartbeat Report also identified current trends in overall employment across mining in Queensland, including an increasing rate of recruitment.

Overall the Queensland mining industry workforce increased by 20,000 employees over the past two years, of which 3.4 per cent were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

“There is enormous potential for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers to contribute towards and capitalise on Queensland’s mining sector which is predicted to continue to grow,” ESQ Chief Executive Glen Porter said in a November 28 media release.

However, there is still work to be done to encourage retention as the report found Indigenous workers have an average length of service of 3.7 years, 1.8 years below the average.

Mr Porter also identified the need for ongoing support of Indigenous employment through established apprentice programs and traineeships in Queensland.

“It’s essential we continue to create opportunities in the mining, resources and energy sectors for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers through proven training and employment programs,” he said.

Historically, mining organisations prefer to hire somebody with relevant experience in the industry.

Internal Talent Pipeline employment is a recruitment sector that includes those hired in formal skilling programs, such as apprenticeships and traineeships.

This category represents 4.9 per cent of the workforce and grew by 34.7 per cent over 2012-13, the largest seen in all mining employment sectors.

Within this category, 46.5 per cent of the workforce is made up of apprentices, 28.2 per cent of graduates, 24.2 per cent trainees and 1.2 per cent cadets.

Indigenous workers account for 11.9 per cent of this pool, well above the sample average of 2.7 per cent.

“By boosting support for employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people we can increase employment prospects,” Mr Parker said.

In general, the Internal Talent Pipeline recruits younger workers. The average age of this sector’s workforce is 25.2 years, and 82.7 per cent of the employees are younger than 30.

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