Just for the skill of it

Posted October 17, 2015

A leaning toward learning has seen Rockhampton boy Justin Barnes embrace a career in training.

Justin Barnes

A leaning toward learning has seen Rockhampton boy Justin Barnes embrace a career in training.

Mr Barnes recently started work as Energy Skills Queensland’s industry skills advisor for resources after more than 12 years of mining and electrotechnology training experience.

The new position follows what Mr Barnes describes as the highlight of his career to date – being supervisor for training and development for the new BMA Caval Ridge and Daunia coal operations in central Queensland.

The greenfield sites provided an opportunity to influence workforce culture from scratch and set a new benchmark for safety and efficiency, Mr Barnes said.

“We successfully implemented new training systems and on-boarded over 1100 new employees ahead of schedule and under budget,” he said.

“That was very interesting and, given the current environment, a very rare opportunity.”

Mr Barnes has also worked as training and development supervisor for BMA’s Norwich Park mine and spent eight years before that with Ergon Energy. His experience at Ergon included developing new training programs and systems.

“I’ve always had a keen interest in learning and keeping my learning going, so it was a natural process for me to enjoy teaching and upskilling others,” Mr Barnes said. “The opportunity arose when I was at Ergon Energy to do that, to facilitate programs, and that led me into the development of programs.”

Mr Barnes said his role at ESQ would involve engaging with industry, training organisations and government to develop and implement sustainable workforce development strategies for the resource sector.

This would include investigating if there were any new programs or initiatives that could be developed to help the resources sector fill any skilling gaps, he said.

Mr Barnes described himself as a Rockhampton boy - born and bred – and said he had lived there most of his life apart from a short stint in England and in Dysart for work.

He has been living in Brisbane for the past three years. Outside of work, Mr Barnes enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, including camping trips, as well as surfing and cooking.

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