Rio Tinto to develop skills for 'digital future'

Rio Tinto has earmarked A$10 million (US$6.8 million) for a four-year national programme in Australia that it said would fast-track the development of school-age learners’ digital skills in preparation for the industry’s future
Rio Tinto to develop skills for 'digital future' Rio Tinto to develop skills for 'digital future' Rio Tinto to develop skills for 'digital future' Rio Tinto to develop skills for 'digital future' Rio Tinto to develop skills for 'digital future'

Rio Tinto's newly launched programme will fast-track young people's digital education for the jobs of the future

Staff reporter

The progamme, developed alongside Amazon Web Services (AWS) and start-up accelerator BlueChilli, aims to narrow the ongoing skills gap with a "disruptive approach" that includes training in critical thinking, problem solving, automation, systems design and data analytics.

The initiative was unveiled this week at the Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation at the University of Sydney.

Under a model that will crowd-source and fund ideas from start-ups and schools, Rio Tinto said its initial phase would identify existing projects to enhance young people's skills for the work of the future that can be scaled for students, parents and teachers.

"Data compiled by employment analytics firm Burning Glass shows there is a shortage of transferable, broad-based science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, such as systems analysis and programming, and broader expertise, such as communication and problem solving, needed for the digital revolution," the miner said of the impetus for its efforts.

Thus, it will announce an advisory board early next year to guide the programme and recommend investments. Start-ups selected in 2020 to join the programme will receive grant funds from Rio Tinto along with mentoring and training.

"This new programme takes a bold and disruptive approach to identifying solutions that will help equip young people with the knowledge and skills for a changing world," Rio chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said.

"Rapid technological change is transforming our lives, and the pace of change is only increasing, challenging our ability to attract, develop and retain the talent needed to run our operations of the future."

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