New industry partnership seeks to build local workforce capacity

Published 1 February 2024

Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) and CQUniversity have signed an agreement that will see the two organisations work together on initiatives that will help grow the region’s future skilled workforces.

Under the agreement, QAL and CQUniversity will partner to identify opportunities for professional development for current QAL staff while also expanding opportunities for new apprentices and work integrated learning for university students.

They will also work together to identify and test emerging technologies through research and development collaborations.

Along with this, and at the cornerstone of the agreement, is that QAL will seek to deliver four new engineering cadetships to engineering students at CQUniversity, every year for the next five years.

It is hoped that the cadetship program will attract aspiring engineers to stay in the region to work and study, and in turn help to overcome future workforce shortages in the field of engineering.

As part of the cadetships, students will be recruited to engineering cadetship roles at QAL while completing a Bachelor of Engineering at CQUniversity.

As part of the program, recruits will benefit from a structured and paid work-study program that allows them to gain valuable on the job experience while completing their degree studies.

QAL’s Engineering Manager, Mark Lord said that the cadetship opportunities provided an exciting opportunity for existing staff to upskill and gain a qualification while also providing newcomers with a chance to gain relevant experience working for a well-known Gladstone industry leader.

“As part of this agreement we will place a strong focus on workforce development by developing and offering microcredentials and innovative professional development programs to existing staff, and we will also work towards offering new opportunities for apprentices and trainees.

“The provision of engineering cadetships will also see us take a proactive step in building our future workforce capacity by investing in a targeted skills development program that will grow our engineering workforce pipeline,” said Mr Lord.

CQUniversity’s Associate Vice-President for the Gladstone Region, Mr Luke Sinclair said that cadetships are an innovative way for organisations and industries to not just grow but also future proof their future workforces.

“According to recent data there is predicted to be a shortage of up to 200,000 qualified engineers in Australia by 2040 unless new and additional measures are put in place to build and develop workforces.

“Combining this data with the fact that the Wide Bay and Central Queensland regions are two of the fastest growing regions in Australia, it is essential for organisations to look at new and innovative ways to build their skills pipelines.

“Our new agreement with QAL is a great example of what can be achieved when industry and education providers work together,” said Mr Sinclair.

Engineering cadetships run through CQUniversity Australia offer candidates real-world, paid experience with an employer during their studies and allow them to work alongside professional engineers on different types of projects, gaining valuable skills and work experience before graduation.

Pictured: Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) Superintendent – Project Governance Julie Townsend, Manager – Engineering Mark Lord, Project Coordinator Megan Moore, Superintendent – Engineering Paulo Ferreira, Acting General Manager Trent Scherer, with CQUniversity Dean – School of Engineering & Technology Stephen Hall, Associate Vice-President Luke Sinclair, Research Partnerships Manager Josh Ariens

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