A program designed to improve the retention and success of Indigenous students in South Australia has received national recognition at the 2017 AMMA Industry Awards in Perth.
Heathgate Resources was awarded the Indigenous Employment and Retention Award for its program which is changing future generations’ attitude towards school and careers.
The company has a target of 20 percent Adnyamathanha employment, which also embedded in its major service provider contracts.
“Through its Native Title agreement, Heathgate Resources acknowledged the shortage of potential candidates if the trend continued and were proactive is ensuring sustainability and longevity of its workforce,” AMMA Director Industry Services Tara Diamond said.
Heathgate Resources developed the Aboriginal School Mentoring Program (ASMP) to provide a dynamic educational experience offering young Aboriginal school students the belief and confidence to finish school along with the skills and opportunities in identifying future career choices.
“The program importantly focuses on improving the chances of Indigenous students finishing school and gaining a greater understanding of the opportunities available for them by working in the resources industry,” Ms Diamond said.
“It’s important to have these types of programmes which provide opportunities for students to work on their own land, whilst gaining vital and interchangeable skills for the future.”
The program partners with Career Employment Group (CEG), Pt Augusta Secondary School (PASS) and Nature Foundation SA, with Heathgate developing a robust and well-rounded program to help facilitate students’ future careers in the Resources sector.
Career guidance and mentoring, on-site work experience opportunities, training and career opportunities, all form part of the program.
An integral part of the program includes a camp developing life skills and land management.
“It’s important that the resources industry continues to develop opportunities for Indigenous people in remote areas and Heathgate is leading the way with its initiatives to give them the skills and opportunities needed for a future in the sector,” Ms Diamond said.
Heathgate has offered five trainee/apprenticeships during 2017.
The program aims to increase the awareness of career opportunities within the resources industry during early high school years, assist the year 10 and 11 participation rates and in turn year 12 completion rates resulting in higher admission rates into Tertiary Education pathways, for professional careers within the resources sector.
The local community and student benefits include hands-on experience and development of skills required for life beyond school, giving the opportunity for parents to support their children to finish school and pursue a career in the resources sector.
It also aims to change the future generations’ attitude towards school and career and assists in lifting the low social-economic status.
The program has been well received by the Beverley Advisory Committee and the Elders of the Adnyamathanha community.