Five new apprentices have kick started their careers at Hail Creek Mine after the operation launched a new apprenticeship programme in partnership with local training and apprentices employer MRAEL.
Hail Creek Mine currently provides funding support to enable four businesses within the local region to offer apprenticeships.
However, for the first time, the operation has teamed up with MRAEL to provide its own programme, which this year consists of four diesel fitting apprenticeships and one electrical apprenticeship.
The programme includes a 'boot camp-style' training programme over eight weeks, which the apprentices are currently undertaking, comprising of theory and ticketed qualifications to have mine-ready apprentices.
MRAEL apprentice specialist Suzanne Pambid said over the course of the four-year apprenticeships, the apprentices will be exposed to all areas of the mine as well as exposure to external companies, such as the mine's suppliers, for skills they are unable to attain on site.
"We are pleased to partner with Hail Creek Mine to offer these five apprentices the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge they need to have a successful career in their trade," Ms Pambid said.
Electrical apprentice and local resident Chloe Dutschke-Nobes said she has strong career ambitions and has also applied to study at university this year while completing her trade.
"At school I really enjoyed electrical systems subjects so it wasn't a difficult decision for me to apply for this apprenticeship," Chloe said.
"However, I've also applied to CQUniversity so I can complete an Associate Degree of Engineering while I complete my trade, which will take about two years part-time.
"I'm very excited to be here and I'm looking forward to working with all different types of machinery and learning new things in a mining work environment."
Diesel fitter apprentice and local resident Brenton Goode said his father was a positive influence in his decision to enter the mining industry through a trade career.
"My dad was a truck driver at a mine so mining has always been a part of my life," Brenton said.
"I've been on some of the big trucks and draglines before but I am looking forward to learning how they actually operate, which I believe is going to create many opportunities throughout my working career."
Diesel fitter apprentice and Nebo resident Jolene Battersby said while both her parents have been involved in mining for many years, it was participating in the 'Try-A-Trade' programme that Hail Creek Mine sponsored last year that made her seriously consider a trade career.
"The Try-a-Trade programme was extremely useful in enabling me to experience a number of different trades and make a decision about whether I wanted to pursue this pathway," Jolene said.
"I always enjoyed maths at school and understanding how practical things like motors work.
"In addition to my trade, I am also looking to complete an engineering degree once I've finished - I think having a trade under my belt will prove really advantageous in this course."
Hail Creek Mine general manager operations Rowan Munro said he is pleased to offer the apprenticeship programme for the first time.
"This is the first time we have offered an apprenticeship programme of our own, and we look forward to these apprentices joining our 800-strong workforce," Mr Munro said.
"In the past, we provided funding to enable other businesses in the region to offer apprenticeships instead to increase their number of skilled workers.
"It is a great initiative and we look forward to continuing to offer annual apprenticeships from now on to help build the skills capacity of our operation as well as continuing to support the wider community.
"I look forward to seeing the development in growth and confidence of our five apprentices as they continue further into their trade careers."
Image: The five successful new apprentices that have started at Hail Creek Mine this year. Back row left to right, Brenton Goode (diesel fitter apprentice), Hail Creek Mine maintenance superintendent Darrel Joyce, Jolene Battersby (diesel fitter apprentice), and James Olive (diesel fitter apprentice). Front row left to right, Jeremy Tetley-Bishop (diesel fitter apprentice) and Chloe Dutschke-Nobes (electrical apprentice).