Tjiwarl Work Ready Program, Leinster

Typically to enter the workforce, a young person will finish school, pursue further education or learn a trade.

It’s a fairly simple process for most people, especially those who live in a large town or city with dozens, if not hundreds, of options. For them, the hardest part is deciding what sort of career they want, and then finding the most applicable education path to get there.

But when you live in the outback, things are a bit different. For the youngsters who live in and around Leinster there are two options; pursuing further education hundreds of kilometres away, or joining the Tjiwarl Work Readiness program with BHP.

The program is an 8-week course that supports Traditional Owners in the Leinster area by providing opportunities to gain employment within the mining operations in the region.

The program seeks to improve the lives of those in the community with a direct pathway into work.

It includes classroom and on the job experience, and those who take part leave with a nationally recognized qualification.

Bob Taylor is one of the trainers with Carey Training, and for him he loves the fact that it provides opportunities that he never had.

“The good thing about it is they’re guaranteed jobs. If they pass the course, they’re guaranteed a place of work, which is very important not only for the students themselves, but for all those who are following as well as for the whole community.”

Fiona is one of the students training to be a process technician. Six weeks into her course and starting work experience on site the following week, she is excited to be getting her career started.

“The reason why I love the Work Readiness program is because it’s getting my career started and it’s helping me find new friends and connect to my country.”

Craig Myers, one of the other trainers in the program, said it’s his favourite thing and very rewarding.

“I’ve been doing it for about four years now. And our aim is to get young kids – get them ready to work in the workforce. It gives the traditional owners a chance to have a job here.”

Being so remote, it can be hard to find job opportunities in the outback. But with a direct pathway into employment, the Work Readiness program is ensuring through education and qualifications that there are always opportunities for the next generation to start an enjoyable career.