01 September 2022
Across Australia, apprentices everywhere are busy learning a trade from those who have come before them.
It gives them a chance to learn on the job, from the best, and to pick up valuable skills that they can use anywhere. While apprenticeships are great for school-leavers, they also offer an opportunity for those wishing to change careers without pausing several years to re-train.
It is no different at BHP, where every year hundreds of new-starters get their foot in the door to a career they love through an apprenticeship.
“When I began my apprenticeship only a few months ago, I didn’t really know much about anything. But the company in general has really made sure I’m set up well. They’ve given me the right training and I’m really surprised at how good it’s been.”
Eugene is standing atop a hill, contemplating underneath the water tower overlooking the Nickel West plant in the background.
Eugene, like a large amount of apprentices, is quite young, and the work that he is learning to master helps ensure that the future will be bright in a decarbonised world.
As the world moves forward, it won’t be long before buying an electric car is the standard choice. Currently, a lithium-ion battery for an electric car contains 40kg of nickel, and 85% of BHP’s nickel is sold to global battery material suppliers.
And while that’s a holistic overview of some of the work that’s done at Nickel West, it takes all sorts of professions to keep the operation running smoothly.
For Eugene, it’s training to be a qualified electrician. Living locally in Kalgoorlie since he was four means that his interest in pursuing a career as a sparky was right on his door-step.
He also believes that having Nickel West so close helps support Kalgoorlie. Nickel West employs over 2,500 people, and one of them is Eugene’s fellow apprentice Jayden, who is training to become a mechanical fitter. With Jayden and Eugene are Hayley, Brea, and Jaccoda.
Between the five of them there are two sparkies and three mechanical fitters.
Apprenticeships not only provide on-the-job training that sets someone up for life, there is also the added benefit of bringing a fresh perspective and innovative ideas into the workplace. Training up the next generation of skilled workers is critical to ensuring that not only BHP, but Australia as a whole, is competitive in a global market.
And of course, being in a position where you’re making friends along the way helps.