A highly successful Indigenous trainee program developed by the Tennant Creek Town Council has resulted in positive employment outcomes for Charles Darwin University-trained Indigenous people of Tennant Creek.
Two council trainees have been offered full-time positions and another six are expected to be offered similar contracts in the near future, reflecting the confidence of the council in its Indigenous workforce.
Twenty-four people were selected originally by local business, training and employment organisations for the 18-month traineeship which included formal and on-the-job training.
Two groups started in November 2006 and May 2007 and were provided training before and during their traineeships by CDU.
The University provided initial training at the Juno Horse Centre near the township. Students learnt the basics of operating machinery in an environment relevant to their workplace.
Further training in chemical handling was offered recently as part of CDU’s Certificate I in Rural Operations, delivered in Tennant Creek by horticultural lecturer Lex Martin.
Mr Martin complimented the students on their enthusiasm and work ethic.
‘They were enthusiastic, receptive, and while some students did struggle with literacy, they were all capable of answering the questions up front,’ he said. ‘I would happily employ any of them.’
Peter Dickerson, Human Resource Manager for the council, said the trainees had become an important part of the council workforce.
‘They continue to demonstrate a good work ethic with enthusiasm to finish tasks, learn new skills and use equipment, and they interact well with work colleagues,’ he said.
Mr Dickerson was also complimentary of CDU training.
‘The trainees enjoyed Lex’s training style, participated in the training with enthusiasm and interest, and displayed good language skills and a high level of practical skill and knowledge,’ he said.
The council partnered with CDU, Papulu Apparr Kari (Language Centre), Julalikari Council, Alpurrurulam Council, and ITEC Employment, the Indigenous Coordination Centre and DEWR to deliver the various elements of the program.
Mr Dickerson said the council was keen to expand training to take advantage of the rural facilities at the Katherine campus.
‘We would be very keen to use their facilities as they are relevant to our training needs,’ he said.
Kate Young, Centre Manager of CDU Tennant Creek, said the trainees were a great role model for other Indigenous people in the Barkley region.
‘This is a great example of the Tennant Creek community working together to support and assist local people to a successful career path,’ she said. ‘The council has a great group of people working for them.’