Nine of the trainees will work directly with Barwon Water in a range of areas, including water treatment, technology operations, water quality, administration and customer service.
The other five trainees will work at the Barwon Asset Solutions, a maintenance subsidiary of the company, where they will gain experience in civil maintenance, land management and administration.
The 12-month program was established in 2016 in partnership with the Wan-Yaari Aboriginal Consultancy Service. It is a rolling initiative that provides education and hands-on training to all of its participants, in an effort to create more employment opportunities in the area.
“The benefits are far reaching, also providing leadership development for existing staff who are mentoring a trainee, building community partnerships, supporting our Reconciliation Action Plan and supporting the Victorian Government’s employment and training pathways initiative, the GROW program,” Barwon Water general manager of organisational performance Melissa Stephens said.
At the end of the program, the trainees receive a nationally recognised qualification. Of the 56 people who have completed the program, 43 have entered the workforce or continued their studies. Many of the trainees also receive offers of employment from Barwon Waters, with 18 alumni now working for the company or its subsidiary.
This year, graduates were recognised at the Apprentice Employment Network (AEN) awards. One graduate, Rodney Sutherland, won both the “Inspiration Award: Indigenous Student of the Year” and the “Trainee of the Year” award, before going onto become a plumber with Barwon Water.
Barwon Water’s Aboriginal Employment and Retention Strategy has gained state-wide recognition for this program, which is a key part of the company’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.
For more information visit the Barwon Water website.