Apprentices opportunities emerge in central west

A NUMBER of apprenticeship opportunities have emerged in Dubbo, Dunedoo and Mudgee thanks to a partnership between Cobbora Holding Company and Skillset.

The Cobbora Coal Project is a proposed new open cut coal mine located approximately 5 kilometres south of Cobbora, 22km south-west of Dunedoo, 64 kilometres north-west of Mudgee and 60 kilometres east of Dubbo.

Skillset's Group Apprenticeship program manager Alyssa Bennett welcomed the new partnership.

"Our partnership with Cobbora Holding Company has seen eight apprenticeship opportunities become available for start early this year, with a further 10-12 to be offered annually thereafter," she said.

With the mine still under development, all eight apprentices will be placed with businesses across the Dubbo and Mudgee regions, allowing each to start the on-the-job aspect of their training in addition to TAFE.

"Cobbora will pay the apprentice's wages until such time as the mine is operational and they can work on site," Ms Bennett said.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for those participating local businesses who have skills to impart and appreciate the financial benefits for their business.

"For Cobbora Holding Company, the arrangement also proves beneficial in ensuring they have semi-skilled labour ready to hit the ground running once the mine is up and running.

"The partnership will provide a welcome boost to apprenticeship opportunities in the central west region, certainly within the automotive, engineering and electrical trade areas."

In 2011/12, Skillset employed more than 1000 apprentices and trainees, which represents almost one quarter of traditional trade apprentices in the region.

Skillset apprentices currently achieve higher completion rates than the state and national averages.

Each year, in excess of 2000 people register as apprentice candidates with Skillset, which represents some 30 per cent of school leavers in the region who are seeking an apprenticeship or traineeship.

For more information on Skillset, visit the website at www.skillset.com.au.

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