APC congratulates Laverton Training Centre General Manager Mac Jensen on the Order of Australia Medal received in the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours List in recognition of his 35 years' service to indigenous Australians.
The Laverton Training Centre coordinates a remote training program specifically tailored to working with disadvantaged people who endure low literacy and numeracy levels, intergenerational welfare dependence and trauma, generally poor health, and little or no forms of formal identification; all of which are barriers to employment.
The Centre provides remote access to nationally accredited vocational training, and create opportunities for local Aboriginal people to be trained into local employment, and also increase vocational skill sets.
The LTC prioritises its training pathways to facilitate local and remote northern Goldfields workforce participation in regional projects and programs (including remote Aboriginal Ranger programs and remote infrastructure projects of community benefit).
Aerial view of the Laverton Training Centre
Based on the successful Wiluna remote Aboriginal training and employment model, the LTC employs a strength-based training approach which allows students to gain confidence in themselves and the training, and then continue into more advanced programs that meet their aspirations in local and regional employment. This approach, employed over four years in Wiluna, resulted in high retention rates, high self-confidence, and the ability to create generational change, and led directly to a range of significant local employment outcomes for previously long term unemployed students.
Much of the vocational training provides community benefit, including automotive and mechanical training to enable mobility to meet family and cultural obligations and short courses to enable community and Shire projects (eg. chainsaws, 4WD operations, first aid training, weed spraying and chemical storage and use). Although focused on local and northern Goldfields employment and Regional Training Organisation (RTO) capacity to deliver remote training, all training units are open to community members.
The LTC consults with stakeholders, local industry and employers to determine authentic, relevant and meaningful employment pathways for students. This includes local employers being made more aware of the impact of disadvantage on remote Aboriginal students, the limitations this imposes on nationally accredited vocational training and employment and the competing family and cultural obligations which create barriers to employment, but also keep law and culture strong (a very high priority for remote Aboriginal students).
On more advanced training and employment pathways (eg. road work and civil construction projects), students can be organised into cohesive teams for further training and employment. This involves training a larger group than required for a specific remote project, which gives the identically trained team the depth to accommodate team members being able to step away and replaced when required for important family and cultural obligations. This enhances employment opportunities and benefits employers, as cohesive teams (eg. Aboriginal Ranger teams and road crews) can train and work together. This approach keeps families together on Country, and ensures that law, language, and culture remains strong.
The location of the LTC in Laverton ensures the sustainability of the program. Laverton is centrally located in the northern Goldfields, easily accessible to Kalgoorlie and facilitates significantly improved access to many remote Aboriginal communities enduring high unemployment and lack of entry into the labour market.
It is imperative for regional economic development that local workforces in remote areas are trained and created to support local employment opportunities, particularly for remote infrastructure projects such as road repair, maintenance and construction.
The LTC has secured the resources, regional expertise and training consistency of Central Regional TAFE in Kalgoorlie (CRTAFE) as their RTO. CRTAFE deliver nationally accredited vocational training, award certificates of attainment, and successfully partnered with the unique and successful Wiluna training project, over the entire four years. This partnership also facilitates state government involvement, and the benefits of the leverage this brings to the project.
In addition to local Aboriginal people’s participation, the LTC has facilitated the participation of Aboriginal Ranger programs based in Cosmo Newberry, Warburton, Wiluna (Birriliburu and MKK), Meekatharra, Leinster, Leonora and Tjuntjuntjara. Kalgoorlie-based remote area Aboriginal Rangers will also attend some of the courses offered at the LTC.
Refurbishment of the LTC facility at 2 Crawford Street, Laverton commenced in the second half of 2021. Local workers and contractors were engaged to assist in the unloading and arranging of five 40 foot containers worth of supplies and equipment and the renovation of plumbing and electrical systems, erection of fencing and a dome shelter, as well as painting and flooring.
In addition, a purpose-built campsite was constructed by the Shire of Laverton in consultation with the LTC on the outskirts of Laverton to accommodate students coming in from remote northern and eastern Goldfields Aboriginal communities. The LTC engaged local Elders to facilitate the appropriate naming of the campsite: 'Ngurra Kanpi'.
The LTC commenced training its first cohort of students on 28 February 2022 with two classes of 12 students – being full capacity. Students are undertaking units in Certificate II Rural Operations.
The first group of students received certificates for completed units at a ceremony at the LTC on 9 August 2022.
The Laverton Training Centre Trust recently received registered charitable status as a Public Benevolent Institution with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. With the exception of one donation from a local mining company, the LTC has, to date, been entirely funded by APC.
In February 2022 the LTC was announced as a recipient of a $250,000 grant under the WA Government's Regional Economic Development (RED) scheme. The announcement was made by Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Minister for Regional Development at the LTC. The RED grant will enable the improvement of key facilities and be applied to the purchase of vehicles to provide transport for trainees to attend the LTC.
The LTC enjoys support from the Shires of Ngaanyatjarraku, Laverton and Leonora, the Departments of Education and Training, Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and Regional Development, the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission and most importantly, regional Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. It is these people that the LTC is in turn looking to support by providing a not-for-profit, fully accredited training program directed at improving their economic capacity.
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