Fitzroy Crossing's VTEC Graduates


Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (Fortescue), together with The Men's Shed and Downer EDI Mining is pleased to announce that 24 Aboriginal people from Fitzroy Crossing have successfully completed their Certificate 3 in Civil Construction training and are now qualified as Production Operators and ready to work.

The graduates completed a six week training program at The Men's Shed in Fitzroy Crossing, a facility funded by James Packer and The Australian Children's Trust.

The training was delivered through a partnership between Fortescue's Vocational Training and Employment Centre, Downer Edi Mining, The Men's Shed, The Australian Children's Trust, Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and Kimberley TAFE.

Eleven of the trainees finished the program late last year and are already working on a Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) roster with Downer EDI Mining at Fortescue's Christmas Creek minesite. Another 13 trainees completed their pre employment program with The Men's Shed in Fitzroy Crossing yesterday and will soon travel to Port Hedland for 10 days of intensive training on mobile plant equipment before also taking on FIFO roles with Downer Edi Mining at Christmas Creek.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Andrew Forrest said training and employment was essential for Aboriginal people to gain command of their future.

"Fortescue believes in opportunity and responsibility. We offered the opportunity to these 24 people and they took that opportunity, completed the training successfully and are now taking on the responsibility of a job," Mr Forrest said.

"These people were long term unemployed and their ability to overcome significant hurdles and be standing here today as graduates shows they are the heroes in the battle of employment over welfare."

Mr Forrest said he would particularly like to thank Mr Packer and Fortescue's other partners in this effort, The Men's Shed, Downer Edi Mining and Kimberley TAFE.

"Training and the resulting sustainable employment are the keys to healthy and successful futures for towns like Fitzroy Crossing and without the generous support of people like Mr Packer, it cannot be delivered," Mr Forrest said.

Funding for the program was sourced from the Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations through the Structured Training Employment Program and its job networks, as well as through Fortescue and Downer.

Fortescue currently employs 258 Aboriginal people (nine per cent of total workforce). 152 Aboriginal people are resident in Hedland and 85 of those are FIFO from Port Hedland to the mine sites. At the Herb Elliott Port in Port Hedland, 34 per cent of all employees are Aboriginal. The company is now paying over $27 million per annum in wages to Aboriginal employees.  

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