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Jobs boost for Perth as BHP announces $800 million to aid Australia's COVID recovery

BHP will create up to 1250 new apprenticeships in Perth as part of a $800 million skills and technology package to be rolled out over the next five years as Australia focuses on its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up to 1250 apprenticeship positions will be created in BHP's Welshpool academy.

BHP chief executive Mike Henry announced the additional job opportunities on Thursday, vowing $300 million of the cash boost would be spent on 2500 additional apprenticeships and traineeships.

Of the 2500 positions, half will be based in the company’s FutureFit Academy in Welshpool, the other half in Mackay in Queensland.

Apprenticeships will be on offer for heavy diesel fitters and mechanical fitters.

A further 1000 apprentice, trainee and training opportunities will be created in a range of sectors in regional areas at a cost of $30 million. BHP also committed up to $450 million to contracts with Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies. “As Australia looks to rebuild its economy and provide jobs for the future, the mining industry has an important role to play as Australia’s biggest export earner employing hundreds of thousands of people,” Mr Henry said. “The mining and METS sector is a critical pillar of our economy, and it has never been more important than now.

“Providing apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for Australians of all ages and all walks of life, particularly in our regional communities, is a commitment we can make to help Australia bounce back." He said BHP employed approximately 45,000 people in Australia, and in the 2019-2020 financial year contributed approximately $33.4 billion in economic value through jobs, suppliers, taxes, royalties and community investments. BHP's announcement coincides with a pledge from the federal government for a $1.5 billion package in the upcoming budget to sustain local manufacturing.

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