Port Hedland community members joined Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest and Chief Executive Nev Power to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Fortescue’s Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) program earlier this month.
VTEC first opened in South Hedland Shopping Centre in 2006 and was based on a simple idea that after successfully completing training with Fortescue participants were guaranteed a job.
In 2007 20 Aboriginal people graduated from Fortescue’s VTEC, having completed the first ever Aboriginal training program for rail track laying in the Pilbara.
The inaugural graduates commenced fulltime employment with Fortescue working on the world class rail construction project.
Since the initiative began 774 Aboriginal people have begun employment with Fortescue, while a further 794 Aboriginal people have received driver education and health and literacy support services.
“I have always believed in the power of providing a hand up, not a hand out and this is what VTEC is all about,” Forrest says.
“By giving Aboriginal people the chance to develop their skills and seize the opportunities provided by VTEC, we are breaking the cycle of jobless training once and for all.”
The Federal Government adopted Fortescue’s VTEC model in 2014 and established 29 VTECs across Australia.
“It’s been incredibly humbling to see this simple, common sense approach, which was born in the Pilbara, reach communities across the country and provide job opportunities for over 7,000 Aboriginal people,” Forrest says.
Power says Fortescue’s VTEC program has been at the heart of the company’s approach to Aboriginal engagement for a decade.
“Fortescue is committed to ensuring communities benefit from the growth and development of its business by providing opportunities for training, employment and business development,” he says.
“VTEC is more than an opportunity for the graduate, it provides role models for children, sustainable income for families and foundations on which to build the capability and capacity of the broader community.”
► Join us for lunch to hear Nev Power, Chief Executive Officer, Fortescue Metals Group share his leadership insights at CCI’s next Lighthouse Leadership Series event. Get your tickets here.