Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan officially opened leading Caterpillar dealer WesTrac’s new Technology Training Centre near the South West town of Collie.
The centre is only the second such training facility in the world focusing on the technical skills required to operate autonomous equipment for use in the resources sector. The State Government contributed $2.7m through the Collie Futures Fund towards the project.
Mr McGowan said the facility complemented Collie’s rich history as a mining and industrial hub, and was significant for the State.
“The WesTrac Technology Training Centre is a key contributor to ensuring Western Australia becomes a global centre for excellence in mining technology,” Mr McGowan said.
“It not only provides future job opportunities for people in the South West and across the State, but as the only facility for Caterpillar equipment training in the Southern Hemisphere, will attract trainees from across the country and globally when our borders reopen.
“The facility will also play a part in establishing a range of new opportunities for Collie and the broader South West region, and provides a great example of developing STEM career opportunities for the next generation of Western Australian workers.”
Joining Mr McGowan, Ms MacTiernan and retiring local MLA Mick Murray at the launch were board and executive members from WesTrac as well as numerous major mining companies.
WesTrac CEO Jarvas Croome said training had already commenced at the facility and interest from major mining operators was strong.
“The initial focus is training in fit-out, calibration and maintenance requirements for the conversion and operation of existing Caterpillar haulage vehicles, which are used at most major mine sites around the country,” Mr Croome said.
“We are also planning to expand the range of courses on offer to ensure the facility caters for the skills that will be in demand as the resource sector evolves and the roles associated with that evolution become more technically advanced.
“WA has the highest number of automated haulage fleets anywhere in the world and the WesTrac Technology Training Centre is a vital resource to support automation projects, as well as equipping existing and future workers with essential technical skills to drive the industry forward.
“We are excited to have been able to build this facility in Collie and look forward to working with the local community to make the experience for visiting trainees one they will remember.
“We have already partnered with various local operators to provide catering, cleaning and various other required products and services, and will continue to buy locally wherever possible.
“We also see plenty of opportunities for local businesses to get involved in providing tourism and other experiences to trainees visiting the area.”