Rio Tinto Weipa apprenticeship programme kick-starts careers of ten Western Cape locals

28 March 2017

Ten Western Cape locals are on their way to exciting new careers after joining Rio Tinto Weipa’s apprenticeship programme in Far North Queensland.

The recruits are developing skills in diesel-fitting, electrical and boiler-making, light vehicle mechanics and auto-electrics at the Weipa bauxite site.

Long-time Weipa local Elle-Jane Wust has taken on an apprentice auto-electrician role to develop her passion for cars and wiring.

Elle-Jane said "I’m very excited about the opportunity to gain new skills and kick-start my career in a safe and supportive environment.

"Working in a largely male-dominated environment can be intimidating but I have been so warmly welcomed."

19 year old Brandon Shephard also recently relocated from his family’s cattle station north of Laura to Weipa to start a career as an apprentice diesel-fitter.

"It’s great to be here in Weipa working for one of Australia’s most recognised companies. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can and seeing where this opportunity can take me," said Brandon.

Rio Tinto general manager Weipa operations Daniel van der Westhuizen said "We are delighted to welcome this diverse group of local Far North Queenslanders to our site.

"Local employment remains a key focus for our business and I strongly believe in the importance of investing in our future generations.

"Having a pipeline of work-ready apprentices benefits our Weipa operations as well as the communities across the Western Cape.

"Our site is the perfect training ground for new recruits. We have many highly skilled tradespeople available to support and mentor apprentices throughout their training.

"I wish all ten of our new apprentices the very best in their new career paths."

Each apprenticeship is a three to four year commitment and at completion the participants will be awarded nationally-recognised trade certificates.

The apprentices are employed by Skill360 and hosted by Rio Tinto Weipa.