25 August 2021
Traineeship Program, Regional Queensland
Walking into the maintenance centre for the first time at Caval Ridge Mine, one may find the scale of operations to be daunting. It’s here where trucks the size of a modest house are kept mechanically sound. It’s also here where trainees can gain skills that set them up for life.
'There’s new things you learn every day. You learn about the area, about safety, about the trucks, and the heaps of things you’ve got to be aware of,’ says Steven Sailor, who is doing the Indigenous Traineeship Program through BMA. He’s standing in front of a truck with a huge grin on his face. ‘Trucks like these,’ he points out.
Steven is one of 20 Indigenous Trainees who is taking part in a 12 month traineeship program on site. His traineeship sees him driving the trucks he so proudly stands in front of, which is a fine start for someone whose career path involves learning about huge machines.
As part of the program, the trainees work in a range of teams including Drill, Overburden, Coal Mining, Mining Services, and in the Coal Handling and Processing Plant. They also earn a Certificate II in Surface Extraction, or a Certificate II or Resource Processing.
While the traineeships provide practical on-the-job training, the friendship and cooperation helps in building less tangible skillsets. There’s a strong sense of teamwork in the maintenance building, and an even stronger sense of excitement from the trainees.
Rachel, from Gympie, nearly 900km away, is also part of the program. She says that her favourite part of it all is the people and the experiences. Being one of the youngest trainees, it’s clear that she’s excited for her future. ‘This is such a great job opportunity with one of the largest mining companies.’
Caval Ridge Mine is on Barada Barna Country, and as such, the Traineeship Program has been developed closely with the Traditional Owners to create opportunities for their people as well as other Indigenous people in Queensland. This has led to almost 50% of the trainees being from Barada Barna Country.
Building diverse and inclusive teams allows BMA to benefit from each individual’s unique skills, experiences, perspective and backgrounds. But it doesn’t just benefit BMA. As Rachel so succinctly put it; ‘This job’s important to me as it encourages younger Indigenous people to pursue a career in mining’.
The program is a way for BMA to deliver on BHP’s Reconciliation Action Plan commitments, and ensure that Social Value is created where we operate.