A program which trains Indigenous women to drive mining haul trucks has won a national award.
‘Oothungs (Sisters) in Mining’ is aimed at helping Indigenous women gain employment in the mining sector and helps to prepare them for a career as a trainee truck operator.
The initiative involves teaching technical competencies in a state-of-the-art-simulator, and participants also receive life-skills training in areas such as goal setting, negotiation, nutrition and personal finance.
Thiess, mine owner Wesfarmers Curragh and The Salvation Army Employment Plus all teamed up to bring the program to life.
They group of companies won the Australian Training Award for Industry Collaboration.
The award was accepted by Employment Plus managing director Greg Moult who said the program had been successful at Wesfarmers Curragh coal mine near Blackwater and the Lake Vermont coal mine near Dysart.
“We are all are incredibly proud of the inroads the program has made,” Moult said.
“Not only has it created a sustainable entry pathway for Indigenous women into the mining industry, it has pushed stereotypical boundaries and helped build a more diverse and inclusive culture at a grassroots level.”
Alayas Wallace is a Trainee Operator at Curragh North and said the program meant she could learn a great new skill.
“The best part of my new journey was the day I hopped in the driver’s seat behind the wheel,” Wallace said.
“The bonus for me now is being part of two really great crews which makes going to work so good. I am so thankful for this opportunity.”
Employment Plus wants other industry organisations to adopt the program