Pathways to the Pilbara is an organisation that assists indigenous Australians find jobs in mining and the resource centre.
Based in Kempsey, NSW, they are committed giving people the opportunity to earn a good income with potential to advance their mining career.
The Australian mining industry indigenous employment program recently celebrated the placement of 150 indigenous people by hosting lunch at the Kempsey-Macleay RSL last week. This is a huge milestone for the organisation as it realised the potential to find mining jobs for many others graduates of the scheme, who, after training can expect to earn $90,000 a year from the onset, which can increase as further skill are developed and their experience increases.
The Pathways To The Pilbara program has been running for more than 18 months and is run by a group of professionals with a wealth of experience in mining, training and recruitment. The team have an acute ability and industry knowledge to pick the right people with the attitude and abilities to commit to the training program and take on board the skills that make them invaluable to mining companies.
Since it’s inception, there have been 150 indigenous people placed in mine jobs in the resource industry in Western Australia. The retention rate has been very high, coming in around the 92 per cent mark. Considering the average attrition rate of mine workers is around 25%, it is a testament to the high level of skill and organisation management that exists within the organisation and reflects the high level of professional training training programs employed by the organisation.
Wendy Yarnold is the driving force behind Pathways to the Pilbara, which proudly began it’s life and is still continues to this day to be situated in Kempsey.
Ms Yarnold said..“We put on the celebration lunch for several reasons, one of which was the $400,000 Industry Vocational Training Employment Centre (IVTEC) funding secured for us by Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott last August which has now been delivered,”¯.
“This will be funding for our expansion and enhancement program which will mean we can potentially place more indigenous people in employment and the mining industry still needs qualified, committed, hard-working people and we can give them what they want.”¯
Graduates gave insights into their personal stories of what it meant to have a good job in the mining industry; how it had changed their lives as well as the lives of their families and children. The lunch was also filmed as part of a real-life documentary series, that Pathways to the Pilbara is producing to show the world what can be achieved when you put your mind to something worthy as this.
“We see a difference in our people once they have a job, they feel empowered and confident and so proud that they can provide a good life for their families. Our graduates receive no favours from their employers, the mining companies just want you to do your job and work hard,”¯ Ms Yarnold said.
“These men and women work 12 hour days and 13 day fortnights in hot difficult conditions away from their loved ones, so they really earn their money.”¯
Working in remote mining locations in Western Australia and being away from the comforts and support that comes with being home every night can be stressful for many new employees in the mines, especially if you are not used to the isolation.
Pathways to the Pilbara, look after their people when they are away using social media via the internet to keep everyone connected, with a strong focus on creating a facebook community. This allows the team to read what people are talking about and offer help and support where needed. With a success rate of 92 per cent, the Pathways to the Pilbara program is doing an excellent job.
Go to the Pathways to the Pilbara website for more information.
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Fortescue Metals Group assist indigenous workers find mining jobs in the Pilbara
Andrew Forrest, CEO of Pilbara mining company Fortescue Metals Group has always been a voice for indigenous Australians looking for mining job opportunities.
Forrest, under his Australian Employment Covenant (AEC), said 330 industry companies have created 71,000 jobs for indigenous Australians since 2008.
Key issues for concern are in the areas of skills training. Despite the fact that job opportunities exist, Forrest said that the federal government is not providing the right sort of training, leaving businesses ill-prepared to capitalise on the workforce which in turn stops people finding employment. It’s a cycle that must be stopped, said Forrest.
His recommendation to the government is that no more money ought to be spent on indigenous training unless there is a real mining job to go to at the end of it. Recent reports show that for every job that is filled, two go unfilled because of a lack of available job-ready indigenous workers.
Additional support has been found in Julie Collins (Indigenous Economic Development Minister) and former magistrate Sue Gordon as they work tirelessly to create a united voice for greater efficiencies and relevant training in the indigenous employment field.
Gordon said that despite overwhelming support from both Indigenous communities and the mining industry, the government is still reluctant because they never thought of it first and it is not a high priority at government level. They can`t get the government to commit to the right training, despite a load of cash being available to fund the training programs. There is increased frustration out in the community because it seems the government is not listening to people and organisations like Pathways to the Pilbara who are focused on making it happen.
Reference: Mining jobs WA | Pathways to the Pilbara | Indigenous Mining Employment in Western Australia