Apprentices pick up their tools in the far north

Posted March 11, 2015

The fifteen new apprentices at Weipa



Fifteen new apprentices have picked up their tools and launched their careers in the mining industry with Rio Tinto’s Weipa bauxite operation in far north Queensland.

The recruits will develop skills in fields such as diesel fitting, fitting and turning, electrical and boiler making over the next three to four years, to gain a nationally recognised trade certificate.

Four of the apprentices are local Aboriginal people including the recipient of this year’s Ely Apprenticeship, Yupungathi Traditional Owner PJ Ahmat.

The Ely Apprenticeship is awarded each year to a local Aboriginal person who has a connection to one of the six Traditional Owner groups represented in Weipa’s Ely Bauxite Mining Project Agreement, or to someone who has a historical connection with the communities of Mapoon, Napranum or New Mapoon.

“I feel there’s a lot of support from my family and Rio Tinto to pursue this apprenticeship, which is great because continuing to work locally in the Western Cape region is important for me,” Mr Ahmat said.

“By completing my apprenticeship, I hope I can be a role model for other Indigenous people in the region, encouraging people to grab the opportunities on offer with two hands.

“I am really excited about getting my career in diesel fitting under way.

“This apprenticeship will provide me with life-long skills and a trade, with the opportunity to secure full time employment after completion.”

The apprenticeship program is delivered with support from training partner Skill360.

The fifteen new recruits will bring the total number of apprentices at the bauxite mine to 48.

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