Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) has celebrated the latest graduation of students from the Company’s Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) program in Karratha. Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, joined the graduates, their friends and family and Fortescue team members to mark the important occasion.
The graduates will now commence full-time employment at Fortescue’s Solomon Hub in roles spanning drill and blast, mine development, ore processing facility (OPF), resource definition and mobile maintenance.
Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines said, “VTEC continues to empower generational change in Aboriginal communities and we are incredibly proud that 875 Aboriginal people have begun employment with Fortescue through VTEC since 2006. I was humbled to join this remarkable group of trainees to celebrate this important milestone.
“To effectively close the gap between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Australians it is critical that Aboriginal people are empowered through training and employment opportunities, such as VTEC, to assist them with becoming role models in their communities,” Ms Gaines said.
Nicholas Palmer, a Martu man grew up in a remote community where he says he did not have the opportunities that he has now.
“This opportunity with VTEC means a lot to me as I can show my family I can do anything and now I want to encourage my friends and family to come and find their dreams,” Mr Palmer said.
During the graduation ceremony, Ms Gaines reflected on the responsibility women play in leading and supporting communities.
“Aboriginal women in particular play a key role in keeping families and culture strong and it is pleasing to see that half of the graduates are women,” Ms Gaines said.
Mattalene Winder, a Malgana woman from Shark Bay / Carnarvon, was among the graduates and will shortly start with the mobile maintenance team at Solomon.
“I am really grateful for the opportunity through the VTEC Program. As a mother of four, being able to come to Solomon and earn a good living is such a powerful example to my children because they are seeing their mum succeed,” Ms Winder said.