Mining engineers have the highest graduate employability rate among all types of engineers, according to a study that tracked job placements for 34 years.
Professor Peter Knights, Head of Mining Engineering at The University of Queensland Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology said the Graduate Careers Australia study confirmed mining engineering was a strong career choice.
The study covered the years 1982 to 2015, and showed mining engineering with an employability index of 92.3 per cent across the period.
Civil engineering followed at 88.8 per cent and electrical engineering at 86.2 per cent.
“We need to ensure the sector can meet the growing demand for new graduates ready to take on the challenges of modern mining in a developing economy,” Professor Knights said.
“Australia is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore and coal, and Queensland is the largest coal-exporting state.
“Around two thirds of all Queensland coal is used to produce steel, and with the growth of megacities in Asia, the coal industry and resultant steel production will continue to be of vital importance.
“Mining is a global industry with so much potential for young engineers who want to make a positive impact.”
Professor Knights said UQ was leading the way with a multidisciplinary, industry-focused approach to teaching mining engineering.
“We cover all phases of mining operations, from exploration and discovery through to feasibility, development, production, processing and marketing, and land restoration and rehabilitation,” he said.
Technological innovation in the sector was also a boom area, Professor Knights said.
“The global ‘smart mining market’ – involving automated equipment, hardware and software – is forecast to grow by about 15 per cent annually until 2024, and will also bring broader benefits,” Professor Knights said.
“Smart technologies enable efficient connectivity among workers but also help to reduce wastage,” he said.
“They contribute to a safer and more environmentally friendly industry, which we are always striving for.”
Professor Knights said that in 2017, for the first time, UQ’s mining engineering students from 2017 would be guaranteed placements with Queensland Resources Council member companies.
“This will ensure highly employable graduates, who will be exposed to the latest developments in industry, from project management to environmental practices,” he said.