A new study commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia shows that the resources sector spent over $1.1 billion on training in the 2011-12 financial year.

The MCA commissioned the National Centre for Vocation Education Research (NCVER) to undertake the study, which it says addressed the wide-spread belief within the sector that the number of apprentices and trainees is underreported.

The study found that the minerals sector spent just over $1.1 billion on training during the financial year ending 30 June 2012, equivalent to almost 5.5% of total payroll. Almost 98% of this training expenditure is industry-funded, with only 2% coming from government subsidies.

The survey captured training activity in the areas of apprentices and traineeships, nationally recognised training and study (including skill sets), structured training (including safety), and other skill development activities.

Around 40% of all mining operators (excluding contractors) were captured in the survey (as measured by market capitalisation). Two-thirds of iron ore operators and around 50% of all coal and gold operators were captured.

The NCVER’s other findings include that:

  • The mining industry spends 5.5% of total payroll on training expenditure, five times relevant government training benchmarks for the employment of 457 visa holders and the defunct one per cent national Training Guarantee Levy.
  • Apprentices and trainees make up around 5% of the workforce of total mining.
  • Around 20% of all apprentices and trainees are reported as being mature-aged (greater than 21 years old).
  • Female apprentices and trainees comprise around 15% of all apprentices and trainees, with the iron ore sector employing around 20% female apprentices and trainees.
  • About 13 per cent of apprentices and trainees are indigenous Australians.
  • Apprentices and trainees are paid an average of $39,395.
  • About 75 per cent of mining operators offer at least one form of national recognised training to their employees.
  • Nationally, about 80 per cent of total mining employees participated in structured training.

The full report can be found here