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Automation careers are jobs of the future

A career in an automated industry promises to be challenging, in-demand and well-paid and will see you working at the forefront of rapidly evolving technologies.

Considerable change is already underway, with many industries transitioning towards automation. In Western Australia, this especially applies to areas such as agriculture, mining, oil and gas and manufacturing.

These exciting changes are already effecting employment prospects - and the workforce of tomorrow. 

WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken is a passionate advocate for the automation of industries:

"We have a resource sector in mining and oil and gas that is incomparable around the world. We are running mines from the centre of Perth that are 2000kms away.  We are doing this from a remote operation centre.  You go to any of these companies that have these remote operation facilities and they are like going into mission control in NASA."

Read more in the West Australian newspaper here.

South Metropolitan TAFE is proud be delivering Australia's first accredited qualifications in automation.  This is the result of a successful collaboration with Rio Tinto, WA Government, the resources industry, its stakeholders and the wider community.

Read Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery's media statement here or watch a video here.


What is automation? Oil and Gas Process Control Room.jpg

Automation is about creating and applying technologies that control or monitor production and delivery. It’s not about pressing buttons, but rather, designing and developing the buttons. It's about designing, programming, configuring and testing Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and industrial networks. Ultimately it’s about working with the “robots” – from concept to prototype. Some examples of automation in the workplace include:

  • Rio Tinto's world-first fully autonomous iron ore railway system and autonomous trucks.  Find out more here
  • Remote operations centres which command company operations from a single location
  • Autonomous drilling, drones and advanced sensors
  • Gathering, validating and reporting 'big data' to drive operational decision making


What skills are required? 

A solid understanding of maths and physics, creative thinking, detail focused and an interest in developing programs that control external devices and networks.

New Automation Courses

In partnership with Rio Tinto, SM TAFE has developed two new qualifications, which are the first accredited automation qualifications in Australia. These courses will position WA workers to take full advantage of the many exciting opportunities automation is expected to deliver to industry and the economy.  The following qualifications are now available:

52845WA Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations  This new qualification marks a shift in WA industry towards innovative technologies, requiring new roles and specialist skills.  This course will run in Semester 1, 2021 with limited places available. Apply now. 

This program is also being delivered as a VET Delivered to Secondary Schools as well as a pilot program with Rio Tinto existing workers.

52844WA Course in Working Effectively in an Automated Workplace offers a skill set that trade-qualified workers and apprentices can use to improve or upgrade their skills in automation to match future workforce and industry needs. View the course and express your interest.  

Free places for eligible students

Rio Tinto are now funding places for eligible students, that have been displaced as a result of COVID-19, to study this course for free. Eligible students include displaced apprentices, individuals receiving Job Keeper or Job Seeker, or hold a valid and current concession card. This training is available from now until 31 December 2020.

The Thornlie Jobs and Skills Centre is accepting applications from eligible students to apply for a free place in this course. To enquire or apply, email . 

Hear from student Lauren about her experience in this course below.






What other courses are available? 

22527VIC Certificate II in Integrated Technologies (Pre-vocational) (Robotics Control Systems)  - Available Sem 1, 2021

Also offered as part of Vocational Education and Training Delivered to Secondary Students (page 40 of VETdSS booklet)

Robots are taking over many routine tasks across numerous industries, particularly in the mining and engineering sectors, so now is the time to embrace this era of automation by learning robotics.

This course will provide introductory robotics skills to prepare you for a career as a network, electronics or robotics technician.  Students will learn how to use 3D printing to create products, install and test embedded controls systems, build a network to establish end-to-end connectivity, learn safe work practices in an integrated technology environment and configure and program a basic robotic system by installing, setup and test embedded controls systems.


For School Leavers and Mature Age Entrants 

MEM30505 Certificate III in Engineering - Technical

This is an entry-level qualification which exposes students to the design fundamentals required by Industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing. Graduates of this course may then continue into a second semester of MEM50212 Diploma of Engineering – Technical and complete this diploma in six months full time (rather than the usual 12 months).

UEE50511 Diploma of Electronics and Communications Engineering 

UEE62111 Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical 

MEM50212 Diploma of Engineering – Technical 

MEM60112 Advanced Diploma of Engineering

When you receive an Advanced Diploma of Engineering (MEM60112) from South Metropolitan TAFE you’ll be able to work as an engineering associate around the world. Engineers Australia recognises the Advanced Diploma of Engineering and allows graduates to work as Engineering Associates in countries that are signatories to the Dublin Accord including the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, South Korea, New Zealand and South Africa. Click here for more information.

For tradespeople seeking to upskill or organisations seeking enhancement of electrical capabilities

The skillsets listed below are part of the Diploma of Engineering - Technical (MEM50212). They have been designed to assist industry build capability in emerging technologies and consist of:

The skill sets listed below are part of the UEE62111 Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical. They have been designed to assist industry build capability in emerging electrical technologies.

Where will I study? 

Munster Campus 

A world-class, state-of-the-art specialist training facility aligned with the needs of the mining, oil and gas, engineering and processing industries is located in Munster, south of Perth's metropolitan area.  The $12.4 million Munster Campus Stage 2 was officially opened in November 2017.  It has has purpose built Applied Engineering facilities in  3D printing, CNC-milling, laser, precision milling and vinyl cutting.  It also includes a purpose built Mechatronics Room that deals with circuit design and simulation software for multiple technologies such as:

  • Pneumatics
  • Hydraulics
  • PLC controls
  • HMI control panels
  • SCADA and DCS
  • Electro technical motor controls
  • Digital electronics
Page last updated September 23, 2020