NT town rallies behind council's latest recruits 

(l-r) Council worker and CDU student Andrew Allum, Mayor of Tennant Creek Randall Gould, manager of organisation development Tennant Creek Council, Louise Riddell and CDU lecturer Lex Martin

Tennant Creek's reputation for innovative and practical training approaches has been further recognised with the latest group of motivated and skilled employees cementing their working futures.

Eleven CDU students are the latest to complete programs led by the Tennant Creek Town Council and supported by local business, training and employment organisations.

All have learnt core skills “on the job” at the council while working towards qualifications in Certificate I and II in Rural Operations via CDU and have demonstrated an aptitude to work in diverse outdoor roles across industry sectors.

Local organisations behind the initiative include Papulu Apparr Kari (Language Centre), Julalikari Council, Alpurrurulam Council, ITEC Employment, the Indigenous Coordination Centre and DEWR, all worked to ensure the program’s success.

Through a shared responsibility agreement, the council employs the men, some of whom have been in the program since 2006.

Two are working full-time while the others are working towards full employment.

It’s the last council-initiated major employment training program before the creation of new shires in the Northern Territory and the replacement of the Tennant Creek Town Council with the Barkly Shire.

Mayor of Tennant Creek, Randall Gould said he was confident the graduates would find work in the new shire.

“If we were still in council, I’d guarantee this program would continue because the outcomes are proven,” he said.

“I’m hoping the Barkly Shire will take a hold of what the partners have done and move forward with it and I think it’s a great model for the rest of the Territory.”

Manager of organisational development at the council, Louise Riddell emphasised the extensive planning and co-operation that went into the program which responded to the clients’ needs.

“A good example is our response after one of the men told us of his invitation to a credit card. We organised a ‘money business’ session with local provider Centacare to help them understand the world of credit,” she said.

CDU Katherine-based lecturer Lex Martin, who travelled to Tennant Creek to deliver a block of training in late March, said he enjoyed working with the motivated students.

“Once qualified, it will be very hard for the new shire, or other local businesses, to ignore them because they want the work and want a future for their families,” he said.

“They take up new skills very quickly and a case in point is when I put them inside a front end loader; it just took them a week to drive it with the ease of a car,” he said.

The students will travel to the Katherine Rural campus in late May to complete further studies.

Katherine mechanics lecturer Bob Piper and Tennant Creek centre leader Kate Young have also contributed to the program.

Kate 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 and council has a great group of people working for them,” she said.

Student and council worker Andrew Allum said he enjoyed the variety and job satisfaction of his work which included maintaining council grounds, and "keeping the community going”.

“I really like the hands-on part of my work and training and feel great when I achieve things,” he said.

CDU lecturer Lex Martin summarised the feelings of those involved.

“I’ve seen first hand the punctuality, strong work ethic and desire to succeed in this group. I fully support them in their endeavours,” he said.