Issue 9 - October 5, 2009 enews homee

Tennant’s fix it men

Andrew Alum and Brian Ladd

Andrew Alum (left) and Brian Ladd

By Jason McIntosh

Andrew Alum and Brian Ladd have experienced first-hand the world of massive trucks, huge conveyor systems and the large scale industry of mining. And they loved it.

The local Tennant Creek men joined eight others in a work readiness program that has seen NT Government, business and community groups pitch in to ensure the men are exposed to a variety of experiences.

Their last week of the nine-week program, a joint effort between Charles Darwin University, OM Manganese and the Northern Land Council, was spent at the Bootu Creek Manganese Mine, an hour drive north of Tennant Creek where they tried their hands at general duties across mechanics, infrastructure maintenance and general site duties.

It was an exciting finish to the program for Andrew, who said he enjoyed his time putting the last nine weeks of learning into practice at the mine.

“It was a great team to work with and I really liked working on the mine, learning what it was going to be like when I get a job out here,” he said.

Now in its third year, the work readiness program offers a balance of real work and studies in vocational communication and workplace skills. The men fixed ceilings for the National Trust, serviced vehicles, undertook general repairs and helped maintain and service equipment on the mining site.

OM Manganese’s OHS&T Manager, Alan Brown commended the men on their enthusiasm and commitment to the course.

“We would be very keen to take some of the group on when opportunities come up. When they think they’re keen to work out here, we would be eager to talk.”

David Ross Jnr, from the NLC echoed Alan’s comments and said the Council would develop a database and assist in the administration to help local business looking for people who are work-ready.

“Having one point of contact will make it much easier for government and businesses to tap into the talents of these men and give them work,” he said.

Centre Leader at Charles Darwin University’s Tennant Creek campus, Kate Young, who taught vocational units to the men as a part of the program, said the 2009 work readiness program was an outstanding success because it closely integrated learning with outcomes.

“The approach of blending the learning units with workplace tasks worked well for this group because they could see how both interrelated,” she said.

“Having quick access to these men through a database is the next step and we are very excited to see it happen.”