About Us


The Mining Skills Organisation Pilot (MSOP) was born out of a 2019 Australian Government initiative led by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). The Skills Organisations (Skills Organisations – Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Australian Government) were created to explore opportunities to strengthen engagement with the VET sector.

In partnership with the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), the MSOP was created with the goal of supporting the minerals and resources industries in developing relationships with the VET sector, leading to increased engagement, and understanding of challenges and opportunities for all stakeholders.

Australia’s future workforce will be more geographically distributed and digitally connected than ever before, requiring skills that are adaptable, transferable, and applicable to future needs.

Extensive national industry consultation across 2019 and 2020 led to the MSOP forming four initial project hubs, based on the industry’s immediate need to increase both the capacity and capability of its workforce. These project hubs are:


Understanding how we can produce tradespeople faster without losing quality, and ensuring we get a better fit between skill needs and training programs.


Focusing on workforce planning, pathways and skillsets for those looking to enter or transition into the mining, resources or energy sector from outside (complimentary) industries.


Building speed to market and responsiveness to address issues around the identification and prioritization of skills needs for the mining, energy and resources sector.


Testing new ways of designing qualifications to improve the flexibility and responsiveness of qualifications design, and address transferable and specific skills for the industry now and into the future.

These projects seek to improve opportunities and therefore access to long term careers in the minerals and energy sectors. This applies equally for people already working within the industry, and those in other industries who may be considering a move into the resources sectors.

The projects are testing concepts and new ways of doing things equally applicable to the energy sector.


In late 2021, responsibility for the delivery of the Mining Skills Organisation Pilot moved from the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) to the stand-alone entity known as the Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance Limited (AUSMESA).

While work continues on our initial core projects, this next phase brings exciting new opportunities for us to progress important outcomes for the resources and energy sectors.

We look forward to new conversations and collaborations, new projects and progress, and we look forward to sharing this new adventure with our industry and VET partners through 2022 and beyond.

Our Core Values

At AUSMESA, we believe that our values guide our actions, and that our actions guide our outcomes.

Our values are people-focused. We strive to create an inclusive culture that encourages honest communication, participation, and innovation.

We set ambitious goals and celebrate our successes.


We lead by empowering others with courage, agility, and empathy.


We act with honesty, transparency, and commitment.


We look forward and take strategic action that inspires confidence in others.


We enable conversation, inclusion, and connection by elevating the voices of all stakeholders.

Our People

Board Members

Nicky Firth (Chair)

Director, Human Aspect Pty Ltd

Nicky is a strategic, innovative and practically minded HR Executive with a proven track record for leading and delivering people and organisational change in complex and challenging business environments. Nicky previously held the position of Vice President Human Resources Rio Tinto iron Ore.  Nicky is based in Perth.

Michelle Gibson GAICD

Head of Learning and Development, BHP

Michelle is an experienced Human Resources leader with over 25 years in global blue chip businesses, geographies and industries. She has experience across a range of leadership roles in Talent, Leadership Development, Engagement, Performance and Learning. Michelle is based in Melbourne.

Christine Gibbs Stewart

Chief Executive Officer, Austmine Limited

Chris is the CEO of Austmine, the leading industry body representing the Australian Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector. She has some 30 years of experience in international business, industry development and general management. Chris is based in Sydney.

Sid Marris

MCA Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Minerals Council of Australia

Sid has over a decade of experience working with the Minerals Council of Australia. He has held various roles in the media and public affairs, as well as an advisory role with the Office of the Prime Minister of Australia. Sid is based in Canberra.

Mary Faraone GAICD

Chief Executive Officer, Holmesglen Institute

Mary has extensive experience having worked with industry, Registered Training Organisations and TAFEs in various roles over the past 30 years. She is also currently Chair of TAFE Directors Australia. Mary is based in Melbourne.

Our People


Dr Gavin Lind

Chief Executive Officer

Gavin is an accomplished academic and minerals industry executive. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Gavin spent more than a decade in a leadership role in minerals policy and advocacy with the Minerals Council of Australia.

Gavin has worked professionally for industry, government, and academia in both South Africa and Australia. In 2013, Gavin received the LH Martin Award for Excellence in Higher Education Leadership for his work promoting minerals education in Australia.

Gavin is based in Melbourne.

Nigel Haywood

General Manager Strategy and Engagement

Nigel has more than 30 years of experience in Vocational Education and Training. He also has extensive experience working within State and Commonwealth Governments, and the private sector.

Nigel’s career has had a resources and energy sector focus, with a broad background in policy, planning, strategy development and delivery management.

Nigel is based in Perth.

Sarah Owen

Director Operations

Sarah has over 15 years of leadership and management experience in data and finance across the public and private sectors, including in large education and training providers.

Sarah is based in Melbourne.