Age no barrier for Fortescue students

The latest group of students from Fortescue Metals Group’s vocational training and employment centre (VTEC) in the Pilbara have graduated and will now embark on full-time employment at the company’s Christmas Creek mine.

VTEC, based at South Hedland, provides jobs for Aboriginal people and the training and support to succeed in those jobs, according to Fortescue.

The latest group is proof that age is no barrier when it comes to forging new career pathways, with participants ranging from 18 to 40 years old, the majority of whom had no mining experience before commencing with VTEC.

Fortescue chief executive officer Nev Power said, “The diversity within this group of graduates is a testament to the program’s ability to empower Aboriginal people to gain employment on their own merit regardless of their age or experience.”

“Fortescue’s VTEC provides individualised support that is delivering real outcomes for Aboriginal people through training for guaranteed jobs, and in turn strengthening the whole community,” Power said.

“It is never too early or too late to embrace education and opportunity.”

The graduates, who have varying levels of work experience, completed a new onsite training module that further strengthens their readiness for site-based roles with a particular focus on safety.

The module sees VTEC trainees shadow employees from the company’s port and ail operations during their day to day tasks.

Fernando Pereira, Group Manager Port and Rail said, “The onsite module uses our own people and resources to provide firsthand experience to our future Fortescue employees and enables them to feel confident in their new careers”.

Jasmine Barunga, the youngest graduate at 18, said the training program in her home town of Port Hedland, has been a great foundation for a long-term sustainable career.

“The thought of starting my first full time job was rather daunting. After completing the VTEC program I feel ready and I’m excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of me,” she said.

Gaelene Gray, 40 years old, came to VTEC facing difficulty finding work after a period of unemployment.

“The support I have received through the VTEC program has given me the confidence and experience I needed to embark on a new career path,” Gray explained.

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