Diverse cohort of apprentices graduates at Fortescue

Fortescue Metals Group’s largest ever cohort of apprentices is ready to take up positions across the iron ore miner’s sites in the Pilbara.

The company’s apprenticeship program has been running for over six years and covers a range of trades to support the business, including electricians, heavy vehicle mechanics, fixed plant mechanics, fabricators and light vehicle mechanics.

Fortescue recently celebrated the graduation of 28 apprentices, including three women, from the program, with each team member gaining permanent employment at the company.

Elizabeth Gaines, Fortescue chief executive officer, said the company was committed to providing training and employment pathways for the next generation of its workforce.

“In line with our approach to creating opportunities for Aboriginal Australians, we are pleased that nearly 80 per cent of all our apprentices are Aboriginal,” Gaines said.

The apprenticeship program complements Fortescue’s other initiatives, including the Trade Up and Vocational Training and Employment Centres.

“Nationally, female participation in the trades that service the mining industry is around one per cent. If we want to benefit from greater diversity in the resources sector, we need to ensure we are building a greater pool of talent,” Gaines said.

Launched in 2015, the Trade Up program is an innovative apprenticeship program, specifically for Aboriginal and female team members, providing successful applicants with the opportunity to start a 12-month traineeship and then providing a pathway to a four-year apprenticeship program.

Fortescue graduate Thomas Thyne, who will start at Cloudbreak as a heavy mobile mechanic, said the apprenticeship program allowed him to complete his apprenticeship and gain confidence working as part of a large team.

“The inclusion in our apprenticeship of six-monthly rotations across different sites, as well as a three-month external secondment, means you become a well-rounded tradesperson through exposure to all aspects of the trades,” he said.

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