Fortescue’s Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) has celebrated its first graduation for 2015 with nine graduates bound for work at the company’s Christmas Creek mine as trainee operators.
The nine graduates successfully completed the VTEC training program at Pilbara Institute’s Pundulmurra campus with on the job training provided at Christmas Creek.
Chief Executive Officer Nev Power said he is proud of every trainee that graduates from VTEC and takes a major step towards changing their lives.
“At Fortescue we value our unique culture and our people’s determination to never, ever give up. Every VTEC graduation is a testament to the hard work and determination of our trainees and our long-standing belief that the best way to end Aboriginal disadvantage is by providing opportunity through training and employment,” Mr Power said.
“Our VTEC program provides guaranteed jobs for Aboriginal people and the training and support to succeed in those jobs; a model that is putting an end to training for training’s sake. The success of the program can be measured by the 1200 Aboriginal people working at our operations and the personal success stories of our graduates.”
Graduate Sheldon Hodder spoke on behalf of the graduates at the ceremony and said the group had formed a close bond and become like family.
“We have all sacrificed a fair bit,” Mr Hodder said.
“Our families have supported us all the way and I’m sure all of us will take this opportunity like grabbing a bull by the horns,” he said.
On site the graduates will continue to receive mentoring and support from Fortescue’s Indigenous Development Coordinators, dedicated to helping the graduates succeed and progress their careers.
Town of Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett commended the graduates on their achievements at the ceremony.
“It is a positive reflection of your commitment to the training program that has enabled you to reach this point,” said Mayor Howlett.
“Congratulations and well done, I wish you the very best in your future careers and encourage each graduate to continue to learn, acquire new skills and progress within your chosen path.”
Mayor Howlett also commended Fortescue’s VTEC program, stating that it provided excellent pathways to learning and employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people and hoped to see more and more trainees benefit from the program.