Local students get an inside look at mining

Young men from the Clontarf Academies at Tamworth and Quirindi recently had the opportunity to learn about the diverse range of rewarding mining careers on a visit to Werris Creek Mine.

The Clontarf Foundation, which Whitehaven has been working with since 2016, exists to improve the education, life skills, and employment prospects of young Indigenous men, with a focus on engagement through sport. Since 2000, the Foundation has grown to more than 8000 Indigenous students participating in programs across the country.

Werris Creek Operations Manager Rod Hicks led the tour for the 15 students, who learned about mining, safety and the career opportunities available at Whitehaven and right across the industry.

“We were only too happy to facilitate the mine tour and information day for the students, many of whom already have contact with Whitehaven through friends and family who are part of our workforce.

“It’s an enormous shift for the boys – going from the classroom to an open-cut mine and thinking carefully about the careers ahead of them – but they demonstrated a genuine curiosity and interest that should hold them in good stead. I hope the students enjoyed the day and left with some helpful information as they move forward towards employment or higher studies,” said Mr Hicks.

Indeed Taylor “TJ” Jordan Jarrett Scott, a student at Clontarf’s Quirindi Academy, said he saw a positive future in mining because of the impact Whitehaven has had on his family.

“The mining industry has always appealed to me because I have seen the benefits it has provided my family since my dad has worked at Whitehaven Coal,” said TJ.

For the past three years, Whitehaven has been actively engaged with Clontarf through regional Employment Forums, hosting worksite visits, and with the company’s support, Clontarf established an Academy at Narrabri High School in 2019.

“The tour was such a rewarding experience for our young men,” said Clontarf Employment Officer Ross Fraser.

“It was a really informative morning. Having an all-access tour of the facility drew plenty of questions from the boys about the different roles available and how they can go about getting there.

“The boys gained a great understanding of the mining industry and the importance of safety in everything they do. Given Whitehaven’s commitment to Indigenous employment, it was great for the students to see Indigenous men on site as an example of what’s possible in the future.”

In addition to its work with Clontarf, Whitehaven sponsors the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Children and Family Centre in Gunnedah, which has been able to help more children get to and from school, and the Girls Academy at Gunnedah High School, which aims to improve Year 12 graduation rates.