In 2018, The number of apprentices and trainees at Woodside soared, with intake up 50% on the 2017 figure.
That means more than 120 apprentices and trainees across Woodside’s Karratha operations at the end of 2018. In addition, Woodside finalised its candidates for the 12 positions on pre-apprenticeships and school leaver programs, which cater for Indigenous Australians.
Karratha Gas Plant (KGP) asset manager Andrew Lobb describes it as a win-win for Woodside, the workers and the local community.
“For the past two years, 100% of our intake has been recruited from within the City of Karratha,” Andrew explains. “We have been taking on apprentices and trainees at Woodside for more than 20 years and this history demonstrates our commitment to building capability and providing opportunities to work at our world-class facilities.”
During their training, apprentices and trainees are hosted by Woodside and employed by Programmed. Apprenticeships and traineeships create valuable routes to employment for Karratha people, and competition is fierce.
In 2018 there were about 2000 applicants for the programs. The intake of 42 apprentices and trainees compares with 24 in 2017 and it’s not just the number on the rise.
So, too, is the diversity. John Wells, lead operations trainer at the Production Academy, says the push for change has been well led from the top and has garnered momentum among the wider workforce.
“Some years ago females were few and far between in Operations and Maintenance,” he recalls. “But in recent times we’ve been looking to encourage diversity and today many, many females are coming into the jobs.”
In storage and loading, there are 14 females across the trainees and permanent Operations staff. Of 15 apprentices, four are Indigenous, two female; of 16 Operations trainees six are female, five Indigenous; and all four new business administration trainees are female, three Indigenous.
“Teaching a very quiet student in the classroom and then watching her become a very confident operator in the field gives us trainers real job satisfaction,” says John.
Woodside also has a Pathways intake, which caters for Indigenous Australians and which leads to operations traineeships.
Five of the six in the 2018 intake were females.
“I think Woodside's 2018 intake shows the company's commitment to local hiring and support for an inclusive, diverse workforce,” says Indigenous employment adviser Marisa Bradshaw.