A group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are getting closer to finding skilled work through an intensive five week TAFE NSW Mining and Engineering Pre-Employment Program.
The 15 job seekers from the Gumbadha Group, named for the Wiradjuri word for metal, are completing a Certificate II in Resource Infrastructure course.
The course includes obtaining nationally-recognised qualifications including a Statement of Attainment in Forklift Operations, Statement of Attainment in Working at Heights and a Statement of Attainment in Working in Confined Spaces.
Our local community do face challenges, even including training and education, transport has been a big issue for these guys.Michael Newman
TAFE NSW Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator Michael Newman said the participants were aged between 17 and 30 and came from various job search providers, which were also involved in the project and helped provide personal protective gear.
"We have some younger people, the youngest is 17 and we have some older people who are looking to change careers or get out of labouring work and learn a different skill set," he said.
"There's real commitment from [them] and real motivation to find work and start a career, I think that's really promising, they want to do that and better their lives and better the opportunities for their families."
Mr Newman said that of the 15 participants, 14 came from from Orange, one came from Dubbo and there was one woman, who are all set to graduate on Monday.
"It's been a really inspiring project to see the amount of effort they put in. It's not an easy thing and it's a pretty big demand."
There's real commitment from [them] and real motivation to find work and start a career, I think that's really promising, they want to do that and better their lives and better the opportunities for their families.Michael Newman
Mr Newman said the first three weeks were full-time and ran from 8.30am to 4.30pm five days a week although there were some 12-hour days while they took part in a job hunt and applied for apprenticeships.
"It's a long three weeks but they are a really inspiring bunch of Aboriginal people," he said.
"Our local community do face challenges, even including training and education, transport has been a big issue for these guys.
"The team said some of these guys are just naturals in terms of [tasks] they have done but they have also done things out of their comfort zones."
Next week they will complete a one week work placement with businesses including PJL Group Pty Ltd, Forefront Services, Hort Enterprises, and Whittaker Contracting so they can get hands-on experience in a real-life work environment.
"The work placement is a week-long job interview," Mr Newman said.
He said it's likely another group will go the through the training after the October school holidays.
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