VTEC program guides Fortescue employment of 774 Aboriginal people

Andrew Forrest (centre) joins the VTEC program team

Fortescue Metals Group is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) program.

VTEC, which was established by Fortescue’s founder and chairman Andrew Forrest, is based on the idea: after successfully completing training with Fortescue, you are guaranteed a job.

“When we started VTEC at Fortescue, I was determined it would end the cycle of jobless training once and for all and break down the social barriers that prohibit so many Aboriginal people from gaining employment,” Forrest said.

“We have since seen hundreds of Aboriginal people develop their skills and seize the opportunities Fortescue’s VTEC has provided them.”

Fortescue has employed 774 Aboriginal people since the initiative was launched a decade ago. A further 794 Aboriginal people have received driver education, and health and literacy support services from VTEC.

In 2014, the Australian Government committed to building a national VTEC network based on Fortescue’s model.

“It’s been incredibly humbling to see our simple idea get the support of government, spread across the country and provide job opportunities for a further 7000 Aboriginal people,” Forrest said.

The VTEC program reached a milestone earlier this year with the graduation of its first all-female class.

Fortescue chief executive Nev Power said VTEC had been at the heart of the company’s approach to Aboriginal engagement for a decade.

“At Fortescue, we believe in providing people with the opportunity to grow professionally and personally and we know how important it is to provide Aboriginal Australians, both men and women, with sustainable career opportunities so they can build a stronger future for themselves and their communities,” Power said.