More than 300 apprentices and trainees are currently being trained by BHP in WA, with 44 apprentices and trainees just recruited to support the WA Iron Ore operations in Port Hedland and Newman.

Of the 44 new recruits, 27 have been recruited locally for residential apprenticeships, which means they are permanently based in Port Hedland and Newman to support WAIO operations, and nine are graduates from the local Hedland Senior High School (HSHS) and Newman Senior High School, with some undertaking school-based vocational training with BHP.

BHP WAIO asset president Brandon Craig said: “Providing apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for a broad cross section of the Western Australian community is vital to ensuring an ongoing influx of good people into our business but also helps address our gaps in skills and labour across BHP.

HSHS graduate Blade Triffett, born and bred in Hedland, said the BHP apprenticeship had kick started his career as a heavy vehicle mechanic for the mining and automotive industry. He completed a Certificate II with BHP while at school.

“I wanted to start an apprenticeship with BHP because it has a strong presence in the community and the business holds the same values I hold myself,” Blade said.

Sam Selwood, another school leaver, who identifies as a Torres Strait Islander, said family and a love of technology attracted him to apply for the communication technician apprenticeship.

“Before me, my father was also an apprentice for BHP, along with other friends and family, so I was heavily inspired by them, and stability and security was a driving factor,” Sam said.

“Technology is mostly what interests me in mining, from solar arrays, locotrols, surface mining technology and data centres and repeaters,” he said.

BHP’s commitment to training, diversity and community is not new but its investment in training has been ramped up to meet the shortage in skills being faced across the industry.

The Hedland and Newman recruits are being trained in a diverse range of trades including electrical, mechanical fitting, heavy vehicle mechanics and communications technicians.

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