The story of the collaboration between the Kalgoorlie Campus of Western Australia’s Central Regional TAFE (CR TAFE) and Laverton Training Centre (LTC) is about a beautiful and inspiring partnership that has helped change many lives over the years.
Reaching out to the remote Goldfields regions and disadvantaged Aboriginal population has always been a challenge, until great minds came together with a vision and decided to wholeheartedly invest themselves into creating a new paradigm for these areas.
Endorsed by Martu Elders and established by Australian Potash, the LTC is a non-for-profit organisation run by General Manager Mac Jensen who has lived a life of service to remote Indigenous people over the past 35 years. The centre was launched in March 2022, with CR TAFE contributing a dome shelter.
Managing Director and CEO Australian Potash, Matt Shackleton, said the centre enabled Indigenous people to complete training while still participating in cultural and family traditions.
“Students at the LTC have been learning meaningful and culturally appropriate training, with families working together in a program that aligns with genuine on-country northern Goldfields’ job opportunities,” said Mr Shackleton.
Since February 2022, CR TAFE Kalgoorlie has provided nationally accredited vocational training to 82 students at the centre, with 35% being female, and many being from remote locations such as Wiluna, Mount Margaret, and Leonora.
The LTC prioritises its training pathways to facilitate local and remote northern Goldfields workforce participation in regional projects and programs. As a result, the Certificate II in Rural Operations individual units with an emphasis on Automotive and Ranger paths have been the main area of attention for this program, in addition to machinery and workplace health and safety training and tickets.
Most students have completed multiple courses and we have seen a total of 233 successfully completed training units.
These numbers present a bright outlook to the future of the program, and it is expected some students will have completed the 15 units of this Certificate II by the end of May.
Thanks to careful preparation for training, mentoring and peer support, completion and attendance rates have both been 100 per cent.
CR TAFE Director Goldfields Dave Curby stated these figures come from high levels of consultation, liaison, and coordination with project partners, coordinators, students, and employers.
“Our collaborations with businesses and other groups are a cutting-edge strategy we employ to increase the effectiveness of our training,” he said. “We also encourage student empowerment by giving them the opportunity to choose their own training and employment choices.”
“As a result, highly motivated students undertake training they are interested in pursuing in order to find employment in a field of their choosing, and their employment status is in line with their unique circumstances and cultural/family commitments,” said Mr Curby.
It guarantees students can uphold law, language, fulfil cultural maintenance obligations and family responsibilities while also participating in the workforce and being rewarded by the dignity of employment, improving their circumstances, supporting their families, and becoming role models in the community.
There is a lot to consider when implementing training to remote communities, such as family meetings, addressing cultural differences, promoting attendance, removing obstacles, pastoral care, planning travel, sourcing financial support and employment.
LTC trainee Grantley Foley completed his machinery ticket and said he would like to complete his Certificate II in rural operations to find a job closer to home.
“I would like to work closer around Laverton so I can see my kids every day,” he said.
Since most of our students are Waalitj Foundation clients, we are also working directly with them to implement their Community Development Programs.
Acting Director Goldfields, Mitch Brennan, said CR TAFE are very proud partners of the LTC.
“The key to the success of the program has been the strong partnership with the community, industry, and elders through the work of the LTC and Mac Jensen,” he said.
“We are especially proud of the real employment opportunities our students have been able to grasp as a result of their training with the LTC and CR TAFE”.