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The WesTrac Technology Training Centre in Collie is close to completion and due to accept its first trainees within weeks.
The facility, which is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, will deliver training courses to technicians and operators of autonomous equipment such as haul trucks used in the mining industry.
Announced in January this year and partially funded through the State Government’s Collie Futures Fund, the site near Bluewaters Power Station includes dedicated training facilities and an extensive “calibration pad” used for trialling and fine-tuning autonomous equipment.
Premier Mark McGowan was onsite today (Monday, 29 June 2020) to inspect progress, along with Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray and WesTrac CEO Jarvas Croome.
Mr McGowan said the training centre was one of a range of new initiatives designed to secure the future of the town.
"It’s great to be here in Collie to view first-hand the progress on this facility, which is going to put Collie on the map for training technicians and operators of autonomous equipment,” Mr McGowan said.
"The WesTrac Technology Training Centre will result in new jobs and training opportunities for local people.
“At the same time, it will meet demand from around Australia and overseas from resource companies that need specialised technicians and operators of autonomous equipment to support the growth in this technology.
“My government is focused on ensuring Collie's long-term prosperity by creating sustainable jobs in a strong, diverse local economy."
Mr Croome said earthworks and construction at the site had progressed rapidly since it was announced in January and WesTrac was preparing to accept its first intake of trainees in coming weeks.
“We are in the final testing phase at present and plan to commence the first official eight-day training course with internal WesTrac team members in early July, followed by courses for a range of mining operators later in the month,” Mr Croome said.
“As the only such facility outside the USA that can provide dedicated training for autonomous operations of Caterpillar equipment, we anticipate strong demand for training over the next three years as resources companies transition their fleets.
“Initially, the focus will be on conversion of existing haul trucks to operate autonomously, with additional courses to be rolled out in line with industry demand.”
Trainees will be accommodated at the nearby Collie Hills Village while undertaking courses and are expected to boost opportunities for local businesses during their time in the town.
Mr Croome said WesTrac had been working with local businesses to supply goods and services, and expected job opportunities to grow in the future.
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As one of the largest authorised Cat equipment dealers in the world, WesTrac provides customers with a wide range of machinery and construction equipment as well as comprehensive whole-of-life management solutions designed to make owning and operating equipment as easy, profitable and safe as possible.
With more than 4,500 team members, WesTrac is dedicated to creating and delivering outstanding value for our team, customers, shareholders and the community. We are committed to excellence and are focused on long-term customer relationships and a dedication to customer service, safety, quality and the environment.
Community involvement is an important part of the WesTrac philosophy, and we are proud to support local activities, events and charities in the regions we are based.
As part of Seven Group Holdings Ltd, WesTrac also has strong alliances with other leading Australian businesses, including Seven West Media, Coates Hire and SITECH.