Malcolm Brown, Darryn Nimock, Harrison Blair and Matthew Malone moved from various Queensland locations last month to take up traineeships in resource processing and warehousing under Rio Tinto’s indigenous recruitment campaign for bringing traditional owners “back to country”
An elder of the Western Kangoulu people Patrick Malone said the traineeships will up-skill his people, bring more wealth into the community and provide his people with access to the benefits of mining.
“The arrangement is also helping to strengthen ties between us, as the traditional owners of the land, and Rio Tinto,” he said.
“Through a targeted recruitment campaign, Kestrel Mine has provided training opportunities that have attracted these men back to their traditional roots.”
Employed by local training provider MRAEL, Brown and Nimock are both working at Kestrel Mine’s warehouse, undertaking a Certificate II and Certificate III respectively in Warehousing.
In the coal handling and preparation plant, Blair and Malone are both working towards a Certificate II in Resource Processing.
Brown hopes the traineeships, which go for 18 months, will set him and his new colleagues up for a career in mining.
“Mining is something I have wanted to get into, so I hope this traineeship helps me secure a permanent job in the mining industry,” Brown said.
“I also have a lot of family and friends in the area, so I’m looking forward to moving my family up here before the end of the year.
“I hope to immerse myself in the local community by joining some sporting teams.”
Rio Tinto Coal Australia Central Queensland human resources manager Daryl Calvert said recent efforts to boost indigenous employment are part of the company’s broader Aboriginal Employment Strategy.
“According to the Australian government, there is a 17-year life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians,” Calvert said.
“As an industry leader and major Australian employer, Rio Tinto is working to close that gap by providing indigenous people with opportunities to participate in the financial and other benefits of employment in mining, as well as by providing better services, facilities and infrastructure to the communities in which we operate.
“To formalise this commitment, Rio Tinto Coal Australia has set itself a target to increase indigenous employment levels across its workforce by 2012.”
Rio Tinto Coal Australia also has Aboriginal Community Development Funds in each region it operates in, including in the Emerald region.