Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) has celebrated the graduation of its largest cohort of apprentices, skilled to take up positions at operational sites across the Pilbara.
Twenty-eight apprentices, including three women, officially graduated from the apprenticeship program and have successfully gained permanent employment with Fortescue.
Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines congratulated all the graduates who were recognised at an official ceremony at the Fortescue Trades Training Centre at Cloudbreak.
“At Fortescue, we are committed to providing training and employment pathways for the next generation of our workforce and to ensure they are maximising learning opportunities throughout their apprenticeship,” she said.
“In line with our approach to creating opportunities for Aboriginal Australians, we are pleased that nearly 80% of all our apprentices are Aboriginal.”
The apprenticeship program complements other initiatives already in place, including Fortescue’s Trade Up and Vocational Training and Employment Centres, which are providing sustainable career development prospects for Aboriginal and female team members.
“Nationally, female participation in the trades that service the mining industry is around one per cent. If we want to benefit from greater diversity in the resources sector, we need to ensure we are building a greater pool of talent,” Ms Gaines said.
Graduate Thomas Thyne, who will start at Cloudbreak as a heavy mobile mechanic, said Fortescue’s program has allowed him to complete his apprenticeship and also gain confidence working as part of a large team.
“The inclusion in our apprenticeship of six-monthly rotations across different sites, as well as a three-month external secondment, means you become a well-rounded tradesperson through exposure to all aspects of the trades,” he said.
Fortescue’s apprenticeship program has been running for over six years and covers a range of trades to support the business, including electricians, heavy vehicle mechanics, fixed plant mechanics, fabricators and light vehicle mechanics.
Launched in 2015, Fortescue’s Trade Up program is an innovative apprenticeship program, specifically for Aboriginal and female team members, which provides successful applicants with the opportunity to start a 12-month traineeship and then provides a pathway to a four-year apprenticeship program.