Fortescue’s Hedland-based Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) has celebrated its first graduation of 2016 with 11 graduates bound for work as mining operators at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek mine.
The graduates have successfully completed the VTEC program at Pilbara Institute’s Pundulmurra campus with on the job training provided at Christmas Creek.
Lincoln Aubrey, a standout graduate, said the VTEC program has been a life-changing opportunity and has had a positive impact on him both physically and mentally.
“The VTEC program has completely changed my outlook on life. I now feel more confident, competent and ready to go out to the mine and build a bigger and brighter future for myself and my family. This job means so much to me,” he said.
Fortescue’s holistic approach to its work-readiness program has been critical to the success of its Vocational Training and Employment Centres. As well as providing a guaranteed job upon successful completion of the program, Fortescue is committed to helping local Aboriginal people overcome barriers to employment and providing the training and support to succeed in that job.
For Mr Aubrey this support extended to assisting him to obtain a full driver’s license, which he said was “a huge goal not only to secure employment, but for life.”
For other graduates, VTEC’s dedicated Aboriginal Health Program was integral to helping them overcome health issues that would have otherwise prevented them from passing a pre-employment medical. Every graduate now has an opportunity to build a long term career with Fortescue which wouldn’t have been possible without the holistic VTEC program.
Chief Executive Officer, Nev Power, believes that a fundamental difference between Aboriginal people in remote communities and non-Aboriginal Australians is opportunity.
“At Fortescue, our Aboriginal development strategy is all about giving people the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. Our VTEC program gives Aboriginal people a very practical opportunity to change their life through training, employment and support,” Mr Power said.
“Every VTEC graduation is a testament to the hard work of our trainees and their determination to grab every opportunity with both hands.”
On site, the graduates will continue to receive mentoring and support from Fortescue’s Aboriginal Development Coordinators dedicated to helping the graduates succeed and thrive in their career.