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CBH finds work for indigenous

Kate MatthewsCountryman

Grain handler CBH has tapped into a rich employment resource in the Great Southern, thanks to a training program run by Skill Hire.

This week, seven indigenous men from Katanning, Mt Barker and Albany joined CBH as casual receival point officers.

They have just finished a four-week training program to boost their skills and equip them for the workplace.

CBH Albany zone manager Greg Thornton said it was the second year of the program and trainees would work at the Albany Port Terminal and country receival sites.

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“It’s a great way to tap into an employment resource,” Mr Thornton said.

“Some may get more casual work throughout the year, but for all trainees, it’s experience with an employer that’s good for their resumes.”

The idea to provide trainee opportunities for indigenous workers was borne out of the skills shortage two years ago during the resources boom.

Then, many harvest casuals headed to the mines for full-time work.

And with the mining industry predicting a second skills shortage with 38,000 jobs to fill in coming years, CBH will be prepared.

But it will also give indigenous workers the experience needed to reduce the employment gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Skill Hire executive Anthony Galante said for trainees working at CBH, it was an opportunity to work in an area that traditionally many had not been employed in.

“There is a lot of talk in Aboriginal communities about people getting jobs in the resources sector and this work is a stepping stone to gaining experience and is important for their resume,” Mr Galante said.

David Eades, a trainee from Katanning, said it was “awesome” to be part of the program.

“It has given me and the other trainees a lot of self confidence as well as the opportunity to have a job so close to Christmas with certificates to allow us to use bobcats and loaders,” Mr Eades said.

“It also opens avenues to other jobs as well.”

The federally-funded personal development program is run by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

It covers a range of aspects from general work readiness, getting to work on time, what to wear as well as how CBH functions and work culture.

There is also industry-specific training, including tickets to use front-end loaders as well as grain handling and sampling.

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