Building local talent
According to the Minerals Council of Australia, more than 60 per cent of Australia’s mining operations neighbour Indigenous communities, however Indigenous employees make up on average only six per cent of the country’s mining workforce. Twenty four per cent of Weipa’s employees are Indigenous, and 13 per cent are local Aboriginal people.
Weipa’s Indigenous Employment and Training strategy was developed in collaboration with members of the agreements including the WCCCA, and defines our long-term commitment to increasing the participation, retention and advancement of local Aboriginal people in our operations. It includes a number of initiatives designed to improve Indigenous employment participation rates, while also ensuring the business has the skills needed to support its operations.
One such initiative is Weipa’s Kinection programme – an innovative preemployment training course designed to equip local Aboriginal people with the skills needed to work in the mining sector. Kinection provides training in a range of personal development and practical work readiness skills, such as social and emotional wellbeing activities, and entry-level knowledge across areas such as road and building construction, machinery repairs and maintenance, and conservation and land management. In 2015, 12 people completed the programme with four transitioning into stage two (entry level roles within the business).
Weipa also runs a traineeship programme which helps local Indigenous people gain practical industry experience. Some trainees have gone on to work at Weipa and others have pursued apprenticeships or secured roles with other companies.
Our decade-long partnership with the Western Cape College in Weipa focuses on developing school-to-work pathways and providing quality local education options for the region. Since the partnership began, there has been a 186 per cent increase in the number of senior certificates awarded to Indigenous students. The partnership was awarded the 2015 Excellence in Industry Partnerships at the Queensland Government Showcase Awards for Excellence in Schools.
In 2014 we also introduced a school holiday programme, which allows local Aboriginal boarding school students to spend time at our Weipa operations and learn about the different parts of the business and possible career pathways.