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ERA creates ‘firsts’ with local training opportunities

11 May 2015

School-based apprentice James Orum with trainees Kaleasha Ogden, Elizabeth Miller and Jasmine Taylor. School-based apprentice James Orum with trainees Kaleasha Ogden, Elizabeth Miller and Jasmine Taylor.

MEET ERA’s 2015 intake of new trainees and school-based apprentices. The new recruits include Jasmine Taylor and Elizabeth Miller, ERA’s first Indigenous female Plant Operations trainees, as well as Keleasha Ogden, ERA’s first local Indigenous female Community Relations trainee.

Kaleasha, whose family is from Croker Island, graduated from Year 12 at West Arnhem College in Gunbalanya in 2014.

“I’ve worked in an office before and my dad worked at ERA for nine years. I’m really looking forward to working with the community,” Keleasha said.

School-based apprentice James Orum, a Year 11 student from the Jabiru Area School, is the fifth generation in his family to work in the mining industry.

But unlike those before him, James is the first to work in the Light Vehicle Workshop.

With just a few weeks under their belts at the Ranger mine, the new members of the ERA team are busy learning the ropes.

“I’m interested in working in the automotive field so this is a great opportunity for me to learn how to service vehicles,” said James, who this month became ERA’s 19th school-based apprentice since 2011.

A major employer in Jabiru and the West Arnhem region, ERA had a total of 47 Indigenous employees, representing 12 per cent of employees, as at 31 December 2014.

Chief Executive Andrea Sutton said ERA had a strong focus on Indigenous employment.

“The trainees and school-based apprenticeships are an important part of ERA’s commitment to build local community capacity and participation rates,” Ms Sutton said.

“We are also proud to support the Pre-Employment Program, along with local businesses and training providers, as this is helping identify potential employment needs among local businesses, and then assist local people develop the skills needed to get a job.”

Jasmine and Elizabeth are among eight Indigenous women who participated in the Pre-employment Program late last year.

Four of the participants have already secured work.

As part of the Pre-Employment Program last year, Jasmine and Elizabeth were involved in the work to revegetate the former site of the Jabiluka Interim Water Management Pond.

More than 8000 seedlings have been planted to revegetate the site of the now dismantled pond.

Elizabeth said the Pre-Employment Program was “really good” and helped her obtain a range of skills.

“I got new skills that helped me get this job, and I obtained a Certificate II in Resources and Infrastructure, a First Aid Certificate, a white card for construction work and we also got some healthy lifestyle training,” she said.

Jasmine said she had never done anything like it before.

“It’s really opened my mind about what happens in mining,” Jasmine said.

Jabiru Area School Principal Learne Dunne said the school was really grateful to firms like ERA.

“The school-based apprentice program gives young people a chance to work and train alongside experienced people in the workforce while achieving a Year 12 certificate at the same time,” she said.