NED Tipping and Jacob Spicer have created history at Cadia Valley Operations as the first apprentices to undertake a fitter and welder trade.
The pair joined the Cadia apprenticeship program at the start of the year, along with 11 other electrical, heavy vehicle and fitting and welding apprentices.
“I was interested in the fitter-welder trade because it gives you a wider range of skills and training, and the Newcrest supervisors seem to be very supportive of TAFE and the practical work side of things,” Mr Tipping said.
While for Mr Spicer, who spent two years prior with the company as a mining technician underground, it was all about future development.
“Growing up in the bush I always enjoyed the metal side of things,” he said.
“But my goal is to eventually finish my apprenticeship and travel around the world, because working with Cadia you have so many different opportunities.”
Cadia general manager Tony McPaul, said the fitter-welder trade combined two trades into one and equipped apprentices with twice the skills so they could work on both maintenance and fabrication welding tasks.
“Where possible, our apprentices participate in an accelerated learning program through TAFE, which allows them to complete their practical studies in only two years, while also providing them with a dual trade,” he said.
“This enables them, during their third and fourth years, to gain more hands-on experience with highly skilled professionals.”
The hands-on experience and better skills is what both young apprentices are craving.
“I always had a background in transport maintenance and really enjoyed metal fabrication at school so this was a chance to get more skills in that area,” Mr Tipping said.
“I’d love to learn as much as I can because Cadia has heaps of good mentors and eventually I’d like to get into management and pass on some of those skills.”
Mr McPaul said the apprenticeship program focused on training and retaining local people in the community, with priority given to residents living in the central west.
This year’s apprentices come from Bathurst, Dubbo, Molong, Canowindra and Orange, and are aged between 18 and 38.