Indigenous employment and training
Unmatched opportunities throughout the life of mine
With the signing of the Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA) in 1997, Century become one of the first Australian mines to commit to providing meaningful education, employment and training opportunities to Indigenous people.
Century worked to deliver on this commitment throughout the life, with significant resources, investment and support directed towards helping Indigenous people from the Gulf to take advantage of these employment and training opportunities. MMG expanded these resources upon taking ownership of Century in 2009.
The 15 Year Review of the GCA, completed in 2013-14, provides the most up-to-date assessment of the opportunities and impact associated with employment and training at Century. While the report identified many lessons for industry, government and community, it also confirmed that there is much to celebrate.
- More than 1000 Indigenous people identifying as from Gulf communities have worked at Century since project development began;
- Employment at Century was the first time in mainstream employment for many of these employees and contractors. Assisting these employees to transition into work required significant investment by Century, which was recognised during community consultations.
- Hundreds of young Indigenous people had gained formal qualifications through the mine’s pre-vocational and trainee and apprenticeship program.
- A survey of current and former Indigenous employees and contractors found that the majority believed that their experience at Century would help them in future employment;
- A majority of those surveyed also said that employment at Century had improved the circumstances of their family.
- A number of people working in positions of leadership in the communities had worked at Century mine at some stage and often as their first ongoing full-time job. While they did not connect this with Century, “many interviewees, however, acknowledged that their employment at Century helped them pursue their career goals.”
- Limited regional job opportunities meant that the experience and skills gained at Century could often not be used in the home communities.
- Many of these Indigenous employees chose to leave the region to improve their family’s access to health, education and other services.
- Some local Indigenous employees felt that career advancement opportunities had been limited.
All data and information from the 15 Year Review
Case Study: Traineeship and apprenticeship program Transitioning into a mining career can be challenging. It can be especially challenging for young people entering the workforce for the first time.
To ease this transition and ensure the best chance of success, Century has funded and delivered a coordinated support program for trainees and apprentices throughout the life of the mine.
While the program has been adapted over mine to respond the changing needs of apprentices, trainees and the workshop, it has generally included:
- A pre-vocational component including foundation safety, mining and communication training over an extended period;
- On-site literacy and numeracy support;
- Ongoing support from Indigenous and non-Indigenous mentors; and
- Full payment of costs associated with on-campus technical training.
In 2013, the program was redesigned to provide more sustainable employment opportunities for trainees and apprentices as Century approached mine closure. The redeveloped program involves independent businesses and organisations hosting Century-supported trainees and apprentices – with MMG covering all reasonable costs associated with the traineeship or apprenticeship, including wages.
More information about the redeveloped program is available here.
Transitioning to post-Century employment
In preparation for the completion of mining, Century invested in additional training for local Indigenous employees during 2014-15.
The aim was to ensure these employees had formal qualifications to demonstrate their skill and experience – important for future employment.
2014/-15 initiatives include:
- 149 employees identifying as from Gulf communities completed a Certificate III in Civil Construction – Plant Operations. This added to more than 30 who have gained the qualification in previous years.
- Two courses of Certificate IV Frontline Management and the Diploma of Management to formalise qualifications for many employees who had been working in a supervisory role.
- Training for employees to upgrade to a Certificate IV OHS to a Certificate IV Work Health Safety.
- Continuing host employer program for trainees and apprentices – providing more opportunities, broadening career options and helping local communities build a skilled workforce.