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DIVERSITY

Indigenous pathways help close the gap A few months ago, George, Sarah and Chris were looking for work and unsure of their futures. Today, after completing an industry training and employment program, they are embarking on promising new careers with one of the largest providers of hospitality support services to the resource sector.

THE three beneficiaries of the AMMA Skills Connect Indigenous Pathways program provide real examples of what can be achieved when government, industry and skills providers join forces to help close the Indigenous employment gap. AMMA Skills Connect is a government-funded initiative delivered by resource industry employer group AMMA connecting key demographics including women, Indigenous people and retrenched workers to employment pathways across the resources, related construction and allied service sectors. Its most recent program partnered with resource industry food and support services provider ESS Support Services Worldwide and Indigenous careers centre Access Working Careers to develop and implement a screening, selection, training, placement and mentoring strategy for Indigenous jobseekers in Western Australia. The aim was to see the group of 20 jobseekers complete a Certificate II in Hospitality and transfer into meaningful employment. Upon completion of a two-week intensive training

Many Indigenous people don’t get the guidance they need to enter the workforce and can stray off into aspects of life that can get them into trouble. George Robson

George is embarking on a chef’s apprenticeship

www.amma.org.au | Winter 2014 |

Sarah is enjoying her role as a camp utility worker

course, all but one were successfully placed into direct full-time employment at ESS-managed worker accommodation villages in the Pilbara. Here, George, Sarah and Chris offer insight into their experience in the training and employment program and what it feels like to be a part of the resource industry workforce.

George – Apprentice Chef During the training program at Windawarrie Village in Tom Price, George Robson’s keen interest in catering prompted ESS Support Services to offer him a coveted chef’s apprenticeship. “The work experience was definitely the most exciting part of the program for me. I enjoyed being back in the kitchen,” says George, who has previously worked in a restaurant. “I’m undertaking kitchen and food prep tasks, but will soon move on to cooking. I’m looking forward to completing my apprenticeship, becoming a qualified chef and building a career from there.” George considers himself lucky to have been offered a place in the program, having discovered it soon after moving to Western Australia from the east coast. He hopes to see more pre-employment training opportunities tailored to the resource industry for Indigenous jobseekers. “The training was helpful because we also learnt a lot about working in the resource industry generally, such as the fly-in, flyout lifestyle, working conditions and safety,” he says. “Many Indigenous people don’t get the guidance they need to enter the workforce and can stray off into aspects of life that can get them into trouble. “They can end up in the wrong situations and, without the opportunity for teachings, there is no pathway to help them. So I do think it’s a very good idea to have programs like this.”

RESOURCE PEOPLE Issue 007 | Winter 2014  
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