Construction is set to commence on a new $6M state-of-the-art, Komatsu apprentice and innovation training facility in Perth. Construction is expected to be completed in H1 2022 and fully operational three months after completion.
The announcement follows recent reports that the Western Australian labour market may need an extra 40,000 resources workers over the next two years due to an unprecedented skills shortage.
The report, by The Resources Sector Workforce, found that the sector’s skills shortage could reach 33,000 people by September 2023, driven by factors including competition from eastern states, internal competition between Western Australian projects, and a decline in interstate migration.
In addition, Glenn Swift, Komatsu Regional General Manager – Western, says that the impact of Covid-19 and closed borders have presented additional challenges around talent availability and accessibility in market.
“Our WA operation works heavily with the mining industry, where a large portion of the workforce are interstate, fly-in-fly-out workers.
“While border closures meant many were unable to fly in, the general uncertainty of the pandemic left many experienced and skilled workers opting to stay closer to home – placing even greater pressure on the existing skills shortage.”
Swift adds that while Komatsu has long prioritised and invested heavily in training and development, the current market challenges present an even greater need to create an industry-leading and future-focused, training facility in the west. This is part of the reason the business has doubled its annual training investment to $12M - in order to drive greater impact for apprentices, industry and the economy.
Located in Welshpool, Perth, the innovative and futuristic facility will deliver a platinum level of training, helping to create career development opportunities for current and future generations, while delivering on Komatsu’s strategic vision to create a strong, technically proficient and capable technician workforce from apprentices through to experienced technicians.
More specifically, the training centre will be highly interactive, technically advanced, and globally connected, with futuristic capabilities that will help establish career pathways into high technology areas of autonomous and smart construction, which will play a key role in developing the workforce of the future.
As the global leader in Autonomous Haulage, the training centre also reflects the ongoing expansion of Komatsu’s Autonomous Haulage fleet in the Pilbara, which is where the first commercially available Autonomous Haulage units globally were introduced in 2008. Across the globe, Komatsu has deployed over 385 driverless trucks that have moved more than 3 billion tonnes of earth.
Cementing another major milestone in Komatsu’s ongoing investment in training, the new development will serve as the west coast training hub for the business and industry partners and follows a $7M investment into its east coast training facility in Sherwood, Brisbane in 2013.
Janine Gurney, General Manager of the Komatsu Training Academy says that in addition to post trade and technical training, the new facility will offer a suite of nationally recognised qualifications across Engineering, Civil Construction, Automotive and Mobile Plant Technology, as well as Autonomous Workplace and Remote Operations.
Our award-winning apprenticeship training scheme aims to deliver not just the technical training, but also gives apprentices essential ‘life skills’, so that new industry entrants have both the life and personal responsibility skills and awareness, as well as the essential trade skills.
“The innovative program has reportedly achieved measurable results, with apprentices being six months ahead of their peers doing traditional apprenticeships and have a one-year advantage at the completion of their training,” she says.
Gurney adds that the goal is to train 500 apprentices over the next 3-4 years, while maintaining their 94% retention rate which far surpasses industry standards of around 60-70%.
“We also have a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, with a purpose-built facility offering an even balance of amenity for both men and women which is the new norm for Komatsu facilities. In fact, last year Komatsu achieved a 50:50 gender ratio apprenticeship uptake which is something we’re very proud of,” she says.
Demonstrating Komatsu’s broader commitment to the environment and green technology, the Welshpool facility will be a complete solar plant with LED lighting and follows the installation of 10 major solar facilities across the country over the past three years.
The business is also celebrating its 100-year anniversary, globally, with a vision to create value through manufacturing and technology innovation to empower a sustainable future where businesses, people and the planet thrive together.
|Komatsu Welshpool Facility | Key Features & Metrics
|• New, modern workshop training rooms and amenity
• Workshop: 1595m2 | Office & Amenity: 1270m2
• 30 tonne crane in Heavy Lifting Bay; with balance of workshop 5 Tonne crane capacity
• Flow through workshop to maximise flexibility
• Lab rooms dedicated to Hydraulics, Electrical and Electronics