Fortescue develops rail recruitment program for Port Hedland based-school leavers

Aug 16, 2019

Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) is pleased to welcome the second intake of team members from the Company’s School Leaver Shunting Trainee program to its Rail Operations team in Port Hedland

The program was launched in February 2018 as an opportunity to tackle the challenges presented by an ageing workforce in the rail sector. With 53 per cent of the Australian rail workforce aged over 45, Fortescue developed the program to meet the labour shortage and to recruit a younger, more diverse workforce. 

A structured traineeship which provides Port Hedland-based school leavers with an entry level pathway into the mining industry, the program allows participants to complete a Certificate II in Shunting under the supervision of Fortescue’s rail shunting team. Upon successful completion of the traineeship, participants are encouraged to apply for full time positions at Fortescue.

Rail Operations Superintendent Catherine Saunders said the program was established in response to the limited number of employment opportunities for Port Hedland school leavers.  

“We recognised the gap in the market for younger people working in rail shunting roles and this was a catalyst for developing the program. It allows us to retain our older crew by offering flexible job-share options with the younger recruits,” she said. 

Shunter Ayla Farrell, who was part of the first intake of trainees, said the program has provided her with a career pathway into the mining industry.

“Participating in the program has not only provided me with the opportunity to become a qualified shunter, but also remain in my local community in Port Hedland,” she said. 

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said the program was part of the Company’s ongoing commitment to creating economic opportunities in the Pilbara by supporting local jobs and promoting diversity. 

“We recognise the need to build communities that will attract and retain a strong residential workforce and their families,” Ms Gaines said. 

“I commend our Rail Operations team on the development of this innovative program which will contribute to building a pipeline of young people ready to pursue a career in the mining industry and creating a team culture which will allow these new trainees to succeed and thrive.”