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Curragh creates employment opportunities for Indigenous women

Curragh and its partners Thiess and The Salvation Army Employment Plus received national recognition for their ‘Oothungs (Sisters) in Mining' training program for Indigenous women. This program aims to change lives and empower Indigenous women to determine their own future. At the tenth annual Queensland Resources Council and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland Resources Awards for Women they were presented with the Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance Award and at the National Training Awards they were the announced as winners of the Industry Collaboration Award. These two outstanding awards recognise the impact that this program is having on the lives of Indigenous women.

The ‘Oothungs in Mining' program is aimed at maximising employment opportunities for disadvantaged indigenous women in Central Queensland and beyond while increasing the number of women in the male-dominated resources sector.

Trainees undertake a three-week pre-employment program to kick start careers as trainee haul truck operators before commencing a two year traineeship in the nationally-recognised Certificate II in Surface Extraction Mine Operations.

In addition, participants receive mentoring and help with setting goals, negotiation skills, nutrition and managing money.

Initiatives such as the ‘Oothungs in Mining' Program are essential to providing skills development in tough economic times and, importantly, they pave the way for a new generation of operators and future Supervisors at our mine sites to ensure a sustainable future.

The program is one of the few programs in the mining industry dedicated to providing Indigenous women with a clear path to overcome the various barriers they face when trying to enter the mining industry. As well as training and a job, the program gives participants a sense of achievement, purpose for themselves and their families.

One of the successful trainees is Anastasia Warren, who has experienced a boost to her self-confidence.

‘I’m proud of myself and I walk with my head held high…this job has now given me the confidence that I can succeed,’ she said.

'Oothungs in Mining' will be run again in 2016 with additional opportunities for traineeships in coal handling and preparation.