Fortescue’s VTEC celebrates 900th job for Aboriginal people

Apr 14, 2020

Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) has celebrated the 900th Aboriginal person to be offered full time employment under the Company’s Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) program, with the latest cohort of graduates due to commence work this month.

After successfully completing the program in Karratha and Port Hedland, the 17 graduates have secured full-time employment at Solomon, Cloudbreak and Fortescue’s Port operations in roles spanning drill and blast, dewatering, Ore Processing Facilities (OPF) and production.

Hedland VTEC graduate, Cynthia Cameron-Turland, will soon be starting work as a Trainee Dewatering Operator at Fortescue’s Cloudbreak operations. Cynthia first heard about VTEC from her father who completed the course when the initiative began a decade ago.

“VTEC helped my father build a successful career as a Rail Shunter and he encouraged me to also sign up,” Cynthia said.

Cynthia’s father, Chris Turland, said “After I completed VTEC, I started off as a truck driver and 12 months later I progressed into a trainee train driver role. From there I went into train driving and rail shunting. I haven’t looked back since.

“Three generations of my family have worked at Fortescue including my mother, sisters and now my daughter, Cynthia who I’m so proud of. My son is finishing school soon and he’s also looking at getting an apprenticeship through the program,” Chris said.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said, “The Turland family’s achievements demonstrate the power of economic opportunity through training and employment, and the sustainability of the VTEC program.

“VTEC was established in 2006 to drive real economic and generational change in the regions where we operate by providing training and employment pathways. Over the past ten years, 900 Aboriginal people have begun employment with Fortescue through VTEC and we remain committed to adapting the program to ensure its growth and relevancy,” Ms Gaines said.

Fortescue is continuing to follow the Australian Government’s advice on the COVID-19 pandemic.

To look after the health, safety and wellbeing of its workforce during this global pandemic, the Company has made some changes to the format of the VTEC graduation. Following social distancing measures, the Aboriginal Development Team delivered graduation certificates and employment contracts to each graduate’s house in Fortescue’s ‘mobile office’.

“During these times of uncertainty, it is important that we continue to celebrate the success and personal achievements of our VTEC graduates,” Ms Gaines said.