Gold Industry Group education program drives golden pipeline

Gold Industry Group

Students are shown how mining work is done collaboratively.

The Gold Industry Group is heading into schools to tap into a new reserve of talent and educate the industry’s future workforce.

Recent skills shortages across Australia amplify the need for industries to develop and nurture their talent pipeline. And as the second largest employer in the mining sector, Australia’s gold industry is paving the way for the future leaders of tomorrow through education and awareness.

Australia’s gold industry employs more than 50,000 people across a diverse range of roles, from exploration and mining through to community and environment. With gold production predicated to rise over the next three years as more mines come online and existing operations expand, attracting young talent and high-quality candidates is front of mind for industry leaders.

Gold Industry Group chief executive officer Rebecca Johnston said the gold industry was taking a long-term view to securing its future talent, and that education was a key driver to ensure students were inspired by a career in gold.

“At a time when talent is scarce and the competition for new hires is high, it has never been more important for the gold industry to ensure it has a continuous stream of new talent,” she said.

“The opportunities for a career in gold are endless, and it’s vital companies engage with students to educate them on the roles and pathways available.”

Through its National Gold Education Program, the Gold Industry Group is providing companies an opportunity to engage with the industry’s future workforce and create real change through education at a grassroots level.

The program, which has already reached 1500 schools since it was launched two years ago, offers free worker-led classroom sessions and a gold resources kit, which teaches students about how the industry solves problems through science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), with a focus on sustainability and community impact.

Gold industry group
The Gold Industry Group says it’s vital to show students the “endless” opportunities for a career in gold.

This initiative is complimented by the Heart of Gold Australia app and Heart of Gold Discovery Trails, which feature over 30 interactive self-guided or guided gold activities from around the country.

The widespread success of the program has led the Gold Industry Group to launch its new Gold Class Careers sessions Australia-wide. These free 60-minute sessions are run by industry workers and are designed to educate students on the sector’s value to the community and economy, and showcase the depth of roles available to them.

The sessions have already received strong feedback from schools, who are keen to learn more about the gold sector, but also from employees who appreciate the opportunity to share their pride in what they do. Employees are the gold sector’s greatest advocates, and the program provides an invaluable opportunity for workers to share their enthusiasm for the industry.

The Gold Industry Group has also been collaborating on furthering gold education in schools through its long-term partnership with Australian Earth Science Education, with the development of free lesson plans and other learning tools for teachers that align to the Australian curriculum.

As a part of this partnership, the Gold Industry Group took students to Sydney’s Gold Conference in June, where they worked on an exploration challenge with industry workers. The students gained first-hand experience in how mining work is done collaboratively, with safety, sustainability and social impact always in mind.

The Gold Industry Group also regularly organises excursions to mining sites, providing students the opportunity to be inspired by industry professionals and to learn about the mining process in a hands-on environment.

Last year saw Year 11 students from Woodvale Secondary College in WA experience the trip of a lifetime to Northern Star Resources’ Super Pit, approximately 600km east of Perth, in which they got an up-close look at the scale of one of the world’s largest gold mining operations.

The Gold Industry Group recently awarded Calista Primary School with a golden tour through the heart of Perth using the Heart of Gold Australia App. This tour will finish at the famous Perth Mint, where students will experience exhibitions and live gold-pouring demonstrations that will enhance their understanding of Australia’s history and today’s modern gold mining industry.

Earlier this year, Year 10, 11 and 12 students were afforded the opportunity to go underground in Westgold Resources’ mine simulator and hear the career experiences of employees at Novo Resources, after which all students said they would consider a career in gold.

Novo Resources project metallurgist Jason Aleknavicius spoke highly of the initiative and said it was encouraging to see workers given the opportunity to share their passion for the industry.

“Novo Resources were delighted to host students from the Gold Industry Group. This educational and interactive session was designed to provide emerging and future members of the resources industry valuable insight from those that ‘live and breathe it’,” Aleknavicius said.

Westgold executive assistant Fiona Baird said the team thoroughly enjoyed meeting such an engaged group of students with genuine interest in the gold industry.

“It was so encouraging to see that all of them would now seriously consider mining as a career and all of them would recommend this experience to their peers,” she said.

The National Gold Education Program is complimented by the Group’s Gold Jobs online hub, both of which work in tandem to drive the talent pipeline that will support the future gold industry workforce.

The ground-breaking resource provides the public with a unique one-stop-shop to access jobs and career-focused information on Australia’s diverse and thriving gold sector. The platform continues to build significant interest, featuring thousands of jobs from 16 leading gold companies since its inception, and attracting more than 145,000 jobseekers.

Anglogold Ashanti Australia recruitment lead Steven Neal said the company had a long-standing relationship with the Gold Industry Group and viewed it as a key partner in promoting its employer brand and assisting with its talent acquisition strategy.

“In this current skills shortage climate and tight job market, the Gold Industry Group’s Gold Jobs website has helped showcase the various roles and opportunities on offer in the gold industry and assisted us in reaching a wider and more targeted audience by providing an additional employment platform,” he said.