Fortescue celebrates first Trade Up graduates

Dec 10, 2019

Fortescue Metals Group’s (Fortescue) innovative Aboriginal apprenticeship program Trade Up has celebrated the graduation of its inaugural cohort of participants.

Established in 2015, the program provides Aboriginal and female team members with an accredited pathway to an apprenticeship and sustainable career development in collaboration with key contracting partners. There are currently 122 participants completing the training.

At a ceremony today, nine participants from the inaugural intake joined 15 other apprentices in celebrating the completion of their apprenticeship and successfully gaining permanent employment with Fortescue.

Speaking at the graduation, Fortescue Founder and Chairman Andrew Forrest AO said, “From the outset, it has been Fortescue’s vision to help break down the social barriers that prohibit so many Aboriginal people from gaining employment.

“Trade Up builds on our pioneering Vocational Training and Employment Centre program which provides a guaranteed job after training, giving Aboriginal team members the motivation and confidence to stand on their own two feet and this can be truly life changing.”

Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said, “Training is at the heart of everything we do at Fortescue, as it is the building block to driving sustainable change in people’s lives, careers and communities.

“With women making up 25 per cent of participants in Fortescue’s Trade Up, we are particularly proud to be building a pipeline of women ready to pursue a trades career and contribute to the success of Australia’s mining industry.

“We would like to thank our contracting partners for helping to ensure the success of the program, providing opportunities to work in a range of businesses and trades. Together, we have set a new benchmark for industry-led Aboriginal apprenticeship schemes.”

Graduate Jade Wilson said, “Fortescue’s Trade Up program has given me a chance to pursue a career that I would not have even considered as a high school student. Completing this apprenticeship has shown me my passion and has allowed me to learn how to grow as a person. This means a lot not just for me, but also for my family.”

This year, Fortescue also launched its apprentice awards, recognising apprentices across three categories – Fortescue Apprentice of the Year, Fortescue’s Trade Up Apprentice High Achiever and the Trade Training Centre Apprentice Training Award.

Apprentice of the Year recipient Jordan Wells said, “I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to become a qualified tradesperson and to now step up into a leadership role as a supervisor. The best part of the apprenticeship was the opportunity to work in a range of areas at different sites and to meet new people, which meant we were always learning new and better ways to work.”