Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) recently celebrated the graduation of 24 Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) students from Karratha/Roebourne and South Hedland. The graduates commenced traineeships in a variety of mining roles across Fortescue’s Pilbara mine sites this week.
Karratha/Roebourne graduate and Ngarluma man, Aubrey Clifton, credits the VTEC program to helping him get back on his feet.
“Our trainers were unbelievable – they went above and beyond their duties to help us and to make sure we got through the course,” Aubrey said.
The unique nature of VTEC is designed to break down the social barriers that prohibit many Aboriginal people from gaining employment. Fortescue saw great potential in Aubrey and provided him with the necessary support services to tackle the barriers to employment he was facing.
The VTEC support model extends beyond the traditional teacher student relationship, with Aboriginal people enrolled in the program given assistance in many other areas, including accommodation, literacy programs, help obtaining a driver’s licence, and health and dietary services.
For Aubrey, this support extended to VTEC’s ‘bootcamp’ which was held at 6am every morning throughout the program. The bootcamp is designed to not only improve the health and fitness of participants, but also to help establish a productive daily routine.
“I really enjoyed the bootcamp – it was my first time in a gym and I noticed a huge improvement in my fitness. The program helped me develop a routine and a purpose,” said Aubrey.
Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said Fortescue’s holistic approach to the VTEC program has been critical to its success.
“The support doesn’t end once VTEC graduates are employed – Fortescue implements a range of training, development and support initiatives to assist Aboriginal employees with achieving their career goals.
“Fortescue’s pioneering initiative provides individualised support that is delivering real outcomes for Aboriginal people through training for guaranteed jobs. Since it was launched in 2006, 860 Aboriginal people have graduated from VTEC and commenced employment at Fortescue,” Ms Gaines said.
Graduates will continue to receive mentoring and support from Fortescue’s Aboriginal Development team, dedicated to helping the graduates succeed and thrive in their careers.