Aboriginal people living in remote communities throughout Australia now have improved opportunities for training and employment with the official endorsement of an electrical trade qualification created by Horizon Power.
After more than seven years of developing the qualification and piloting it with Aboriginal people from large, remote communities in Western Australia, Horizon Power has now had the trade recognised at a State level following its national registration.
The National Certificate III Remote Community Utilities Worker (RCUW) trade qualification was registered as a Class A Apprenticeship in late September by the WA Minister for Training and Workforce Development, Hon. Liza Harvey MLA.
The Minister’s Western Australian decision for Class A Apprenticeship classification was published in the Government Gazette on 20 September, ensuring that the RCUW qualification can only be delivered by a proper apprenticeship containing structured off-the-job and on-the-job training to ensure the workers are properly and safely trained.
Horizon Power currently has four RCUWs who are on schedule to finish their apprenticeship early next year. They are Robert Hassett, of Kalumburu, Brendan Walters, Yungngora, Keith Hunter, Bidyadanga, and Clinton (Minty) Sahanna who covers the Dampier Peninsula communities of Beagle Bay, Lombina/Djarjagin and Ardyaloon.
Clinton (Minty) Sahanna referred to the RCUW qualification by saying, “It benefits Indigenous people who live in their community to have a sense of pride and achievement. It’s great that the team and I are recognised for the time and effort we all put in with a nationally recognised qualification.”
Horizon Power’s Corporate Services General Manager and Company Secretary David Tovey said he was proud of the business’ achievement to develop a qualification which provides Aboriginal communities with employment opportunities and allows communities to be self-sufficient.
“Our RCUW’s are the pioneers, working alongside and supporting many people while the training material was being developed and delivered,” he said.
In 2009, Horizon Power’s Aboriginal Communities Training program, from which this qualification evolved, was awarded with a Premier’s Award. The qualification was created to provide jobs in communities where new power infrastructure was being created.
Horizon Power built six new power stations in remote communities in the Kimberley, as well as upgrading the electrical systems, under the Aboriginal and Remote Communities Power Supply Project which finished in 2011. The qualification was designed to ensure communities did not have to wait hours before outside crews could attend to fix faults or rely on contractors to maintain the community’s assets.
Horizon Power has developed a detailed business case to look at trialling sustainable solutions for the upgrade of essential services in large Aboriginal communities.
The State Government, through Regional Development Minister Terry Redman and Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell, released a discussion paper in July which outlines its intention to upgrade essential services in up to 10 large Aboriginal communities and $20 million for services in town-based reserves.
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