Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:23
A new program designed to retain locally trained geoscientists within South Australia has resulted in a 96 per cent employment rate for participants.
An initiative of South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) and the South Australian Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE), the Geoscientist Assistance Program (GAP) was established in 2009 to keep promising graduate or under-employed geoscientists in the state to support the burgeoning resources sector.
Funded with a $750,000 grant from the SA State Government's Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE), the program was the answer to industry concern that SA would be unable to retain its strong geoscience skills base with graduates facing unemployment as a result of the global financial crisis.
Placing 33 people into various roles with mining companies, junior explorers or technical services, the program has ensured the progression of nearly all roles into secure full-time or senior positions, according to SACOME statement.
Acting SACOME chief executive Jonathon ForbeS said the results of the program showed it had helped counter the gloomy picture of resource related employment threatening the industry during the GFC.
"The program has ensured key resources and exploration companies have had the pick of the crop of the state's most talented young graduates," Mr Forbes said.
"The fact that such a high percentage of participants have achieved full time employment in the industry - as a direct result of the program - is a fantastic result that both the government and SACOME are proud of."
Along with providing salary subsidies of up to $25,000 per annum, the program provided training grants of up to $8500 for professional development courses.
The program also incorporated work related training not taught at university, such as remote first aid, intensive four wheel drive lessons and training in Vulcan - the flagship mine modelling software designed by Adelaide based company Maptek.
The first graduate geologist to be employed under the scheme, Matthew Boxall, has been promoted to underground mine geologist after completing his one-year GAP placement at Oz Minerals.
"The GAP program helped me get a goot in the door in a competitive industry, which can be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome as a young graduate," Mr Boxall said.
"SACOME helped by dealing directly with companies and cutting down a lot of the legwork associated with finding employment after university and streamlining the process."
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