A new partnership between JCB Construction Equipment Australia (CEA), TAFE Western (NSW) and an Aboriginal cultural and education centre will give Aboriginal trainees operator accreditation and job search support. Muru Mittigar, based in Penrith in Western Sydney, is a not-for-profit social enterprise that is Aboriginal owned and operated. It seeks to advance Aboriginal culture and provides workforce development outcomes to industry. The centre will use JCB equipment as part of a new training program, which started this month.
The program will open the door to new career opportunities for the local Aboriginal community, according to Muru Mittigar CEO Peter Chia.
“This program will deliver skills, qualifications and some vocational direction that will be especially useful for our younger members who have just left school and are still undecided on their career path,” he said. “It’s a great way for them to gain in-field experience with modern machinery to prepare them for work in the construction, fire mitigation or earthmoving sectors.”
The initial five day training program was attended by nine trainees ranging from 15 to 53 years of age. It assisted them in gaining their operator accreditation on excavators, skid steer loaders and backhoes.
“The program sees approximately 15 trainees per annum here at Muru Mittigar, with 80 per cent from an Aboriginal background.”
JCB CEA is the sole provider of machinery to Muru Mittigar as a contracting social enterprise, and is also providing field service support and industry networking. JCB CEA worked closely with Muru Mittigar throughout the process of selecting and purchasing their first machine, with safety a key aspect for their selection.
“The first machine they purchased is our new generation 300T Tier 4 compact tracked loader, which has a single power boom and side entry,” said JCB CEA Compact Equipment Product Manager Phil Withell. “This model is perfect for our customers as it’s the safest skid steer loader in the world. It’s absolutely ideal for Muru Mittigar when it comes to their application and especially for the purpose of training staff. The side entry not only improves access into the machine, but is also great for easy communication between the trainer and student.”
Once the trainees have received their operator tickets, JCB will continue to support them as they seek out job placements.
“With the changes to the Indigenous Opportunities Policy in 2011 by the Australian Government, job prospects for Indigenous operators in the civil industry are now increasing, and this training will help expand students’ job prospects,” Phil said.