Over the course of half a decade MIGAS and Shell QGC’s partnership in the Western Downs has set local apprentices and trainees on sustainable career paths.
On a balmy evening in November at the local Chinchilla rugby club, leaders from Shell’s QGC business and MIGAS gathered to celebrate a group of talented young apprentices and trainees.
Joined by family, friends and their peers, ten newly minted qualified tradespeople were recognised for successfully completing their Australian Apprenticeship with one of the industry's leading energy companies, Shell.
Chinchilla local and MIGAS mechanical fitter apprentice Zac Irvine was named 2022 Shell QGC Apprentice of the Year on the evening.
"For my entire life, I have been fascinated by mechanical fitting operations. As a child, I promised myself I would one day uphold that dream and live it out," Zac said.
In its fifth year, the MIGAS and Shell QGC Pathways Program has created dozens of jobs in the Western Downs region leading to long term careers in the energy industry. These include the disciplines of mechanical fitting, electrotechnology and instrumentation, gas plant and wellsite operations.
Set to commence in January 2023 are 13 new apprentices and trainees in the Program.
Amongst the cohort with generational connections to local communities in the Western Downs is a group of proud Indigenous Australians at the beginning of their career journey.
Six apprentices who were selected to commence hail from different Aboriginal Nations.
“We’re tremendously proud that almost half of our new Shell QGC Pathways Program apprentices and trainees identify as Australia’s First Peoples,” MIGAS CEO, David Hoey said.
“Each of our commencing apprentices participated in a rigorous recruitment process and aptitude assessment that are designed to uncover academic ability, practical talent, teamwork, and safe practice.”
The Pathways Program provides a broad scope of work for apprentices and trainees which includes travelling to remote well sites and working at a Gas Processing Plant when not at the QGC Chinchilla Central training facility.
"I'm driven by my cousin who is a trade-qualified electrician," said Jack Weribone, a proud Mandandanji man selected by MIGAS to commence his apprenticeship in 2023.
"Witnessing him start his apprenticeship and work through to today having his own successful electrical business inspires me to get my trade qualification. This opportunity would show my community that anyone can achieve their dreams," Jack said.
Fellow first year Indigenous apprentice, Reanna Ghilotti, shared that her inspiration for pursuing a mechanical fitter apprenticeship came from family.
"Growing up, my dad and brother were always working on cars and equipment and naturally I picked it up along the way.
"Troubleshooting and fixing things brings a sense of accomplishment that I don't often find anywhere else," Reanna said.
Proud Iman woman from Rockhampton, Arwa Gulf, was also selected for an electrical and instrumentation apprenticeship after first completing a pre-apprenticeship with Shell QGC.
"I worked through shutdowns assisting the team while they were doing voltage, winding testing and upgrading protection systems. This was a highlight for me," Arwa said.
Shell QGC Indigenous Operations Advisor and Mentor, Thomas Draper, shared his personal pride in the Program outcomes and walking side-by-side with the apprentices during their training.
"It’s so good to see the impact the Pathways Program is having locally and the amount of talented young people making the most of their time and opportunities," Thomas said.
"One of the most rewarding aspects is hearing how many of the MIGAS apprentices and trainees transition to full time roles with QGC at the end of the program."
MIGAS and Shell QGC acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the regions in Western Queensland including the People of Iman, Mandandanji, Bigambul, Barunggam, Cobble Cobble, Jarowair, Western Wakka Wakka, and Yiman.