Laverton locals flock to train

A TRAINING centre in Western Australia’s north eastern Goldfields set up by Australian Potash to provide vocational training programs and employment pathways for local Aboriginal people has opened its doors, with the first cohort of 24 students attending classes in automotive and mechanical skills, machinery operation and ranger training.
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Laverton training centre trainees and personnel, including general manager Mac Jensen and APC community liaison officer Sarah Sullivan.

Australian Potash spent $300,000 to establish the Laverton training centre, which will be run in conjunction with Central Regional TAFE Kalgoorlie campus.

Laverton Training Centre manager and training coordinator Mac Jensen said the key to success in the delivery of education and training into remote areas was thorough and appropriate community engagement, consultation and empowerment, underpinned by cultural responsiveness.

He said local students would be given meaningful and culturally appropriate training in a program that aligned with genuine on-country northern Goldfield's job opportunities.

"The LTC training delivery model is designed to assist remote people overcome the significant barrier of low levels of literacy and numeracy and empower students to transition onto a self-determined training and employment pathway," Jensen said.

The centre started training this week with two classes of 12 students, following a visit by WA regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan to hand over a $250,000 grant from the government's Regional Economic Development grants program.

Five Goldfields-Esperance projects shared in $785,000 of funding as part of the program's fourth round.

MacTiernan said the Laverton training centre was a fantastic example of government and industry working together to deliver training and genuine employment pathways for Aboriginal people.

Australian Potash managing director and CEO Matt Shackleton said the RED grant money would be used for providing transport for trainees so they could attend the centre, as well as some improvements to facilities at the site.

"The LTC is based on the successful training program piloted at Wiluna over four years, which is centred around working with local families to support people transitioning into training and employment, while maintaining cultural and family priorities and obligations," Shackleton said. 

"This is not just a box-ticking exercise for Australian Potash."

Shackleton said the company engaged a local Aboriginal community liaison officer to work with families to find out what trainees needed to transition into the training programs.

"Combining strong cultural responsiveness and high levels of consultation with industry and local employers has helped us to create a network of support for the training programs," he said.

"A well-trained and committed local Aboriginal workforce will be a huge asset to Ranger programs in the Goldfields and local employers and bring enormous economic benefit to remote communities."