By Sarah Byrne

THE SUSTAINABLE Minerals Institute (SMI) at the University of Queensland has launched a range of postgraduate courses in Responsible Resource Development which the university says will meet industry needs.

Speaking with Oil & Gas Australia, deputy director for research integration at the Sustainable Minerals Institute professor David Brereton said the course was a response to the changing professional training and development needs of the extractive resources sector.

“This initiative is being launched at a time when the mining industry faces the critical challenges of continuing to improve its sustainability performance while operating under significant financial constraints,” he said.

The Responsible Resource Development program would provide new options in an employment market that would continue to tighten with the industry downturn, he said.

Professor Brereton said the course aimed to give students a unique edge in the marketplace by giving them an in-depth understanding of sustainability and its role in the industry, exposure to industry experts, and higher order skill sets in problem solving, effective communication and project management.

Directed at industry professionals seeking to broaden their knowledge base, as well as graduates planning on exploring future career opportunities in the sector, the course provides students with access to Australian and global industry experts through online webinars and campus workshops.

“The course will give people in the extractive resource industries a firm foundation in the increasingly important area of sustainable development, while also offering the flexibility to gain specialised knowledge in thematic areas like environment, health and safety, and community relations,” he said.

Students could specialise in any one of those areas, engaging with a sustainable development agenda, with the opportunity to build cross-discipline knowledge at graduate diploma level.

The course is run through the university’s Sustainable Minerals Institute, it can be completed in one year at a graduate certificate level, two years to complete a graduate diploma or students can finish the masters in three years.

Students can also study the course on a part-time basis to continue to work in the industry while completing the program.