New program aids Aboriginal earthmover training
Aboriginal trainees are being given earthmover operator accreditation and job search support through a new partnership between JCB Construction Equipment Australia (CEA), TAFE Western (NSW) and the Muru Mittigar Aboriginal cultural and education centre.
The training scheme will see about 15 trainees get their accreditation on JCB machines each year, with 80 per cent from an Aboriginal background. The initial five-day program was attended by nine trainees of between 15 and 53 years old, who gained operator accreditation on excavators, skid steer loaders and backhoes.
Based in the Western Sydney suburb of Penrith, Muru Mittigar, is a not-for-profit social enterprise that is owned and operated by Aboriginal people. It seeks to advance Aboriginal culture and aid in workforce development.
The organisation’s CEO, Peter Chia, says the new program will open the door to new career opportunities for the local Aboriginal community.
"This program will deliver skills, qualifications and some vocational direction that will be especially useful for our younger members who have just left school and are still undecided on their career path," he says. "It’s a great way for them to gain in-field experience with modern machinery to prepare them for work in the construction, fire mitigation or earthmoving sectors."
JCB CEA is the sole provider of machinery to Muru Mittigar as a contracting social enterprise, and is also providing field service support and industry networking. The company says it worked closely with Muru Mittigar throughout the process of selecting and purchasing their first machine, with safety a key aspect for their selection.
"The first machine they purchased is our new-generation 300T Tier 4 compact tracked loader, which has a single power boom and side entry," JCB CEA compact equipment product manager Phil Withell says.
"This model is perfect for our customers as it’s the safest skid steer loader in the world. It’s absolutely ideal for Muru Mittigar when it comes to their application and especially for the purpose of training staff. The side entry not only improves access into the machine, but is also great for easy communication between the trainer and student."
Withell says JCB will help the trainees to find job placements once they have received their operator tickets.
"With the changes to the Indigenous Opportunities Policy in 2011 by the Australian Government, job prospects for Indigenous operators in the civil industry are now increasing, and this training will help expand students’ job prospects," Withell says.
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