More than 100 local careers launched by long-term apprenticeship programme

21 March 2018

Rio Tinto Weipa Operations’ apprenticeship programme has successfully kick-started the careers of 103 Western Cape locals over the past 15 years including a new intake of seven apprentices who picked up their tools at the site last month.

Bradley Bond, a local Aboriginal diesel fitting apprentice who recently moved to Weipa to start his apprenticeship said "I finished my schooling in Bamaga and when the Rio Tinto apprenticeship programme was advertised I knew I had to apply. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to gain diesel fitting skills in an operations environment."

Walter Sigai, another new apprentice on site, recently graduated from Weipa’s Western Cape College and is pursuing a fitting and turning apprenticeship. At school Walter participated in a school-based traineeship and successfully transitioned into an apprenticeship after finishing Year 12.

"I’m really excited by opportunities Rio Tinto has to offer and I’d like to encourage more local people to give the school-based traineeship programme a go because it can be a great step to a fully-fledged apprenticeship," Walter said.

Pictured: Weipa apprentice Walter Sigai

Rio Tinto Weipa Operations general manager Daniel van der Westhuizen said "We recognise we operate on traditional land and are pleased to welcome such a diverse group of Western Cape locals to Weipa Operations.

"Local employment remains a key focus as having a consistent pipeline of work-ready apprentices and students is an important part of delivering sustainable economic prosperity for communities across the broader Cape York region.

"We are very proud of our apprenticeship programme, with many of our apprentices recognised for excelling in their trades locally, regionally and across the industry each year," Daniel said.

Rio Tinto’s apprenticeship programme is delivered with support from training provider MRAEL and supports school-leaders and adults to develop skills in fields such as diesel fitting, fitting and turning, electrical and boiler-making, refrigeration and plumbing, to gain a nationally recognised trade certificate.