A pre-employment program coinciding with the Albion Park Rail Bypass project has resulted in Fulton Hogan and Fusion Training Solutions winning the Industry Collaboration Award at the 2020 NSW Training Awards.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said Fulton Hogan and Fusion Training Solutions have been recognised for the way they created a pipeline of talent by engaging underrepresented groups who offer potential to the industry.
Mr Ward said Fulton Hogan showed it was an infrastructure company that cared about the community and recognised the importance of a skilled workforce.
He said the NSW Government's Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program was the catalyst for a range of pre-employment programs, apprenticeships and traineeships.
The innovative collaboration between Fulton Hogan and Fusion provided employment pathways for the long-term unemployed as well as refugee and asylum seekers.
"In consultation with community groups and SCARF Refugee Support, they devised an integrated training and support program addressing identified learning barriers so participants could develop the capabilities required to step into paid employment," Mr Ward said.
"Students also put theory into practice by gaining hands-on experience working in a live environment. This supported pathway gave them a sense of purpose, connection and achievement," Mr Ward said.
Fusion Training Solutions chief executive Andrew Park said the recognition made him appreciate the significance of what had been achieved.
"It is a sensational acknowledgement of our team and the Fulton Hogan team," he said.
Our emphasis was on 'hands-on' pre-employment trainingRenee Ceapa
Mr Park said the program started a year ago before work started on the Albion Park Rail Bypass. And followed discussions with Fulton Hogan about its needs.
"We have had two groups of 15 in the pre-employment program".
The first group was made up of indigenous youth and the second group had a migrant focus.
Regional manager Renee Ceapa said the emphasis was on 'hands-on' pre-employment training to ensure all students had the practical knowledge and skills to enter the workforce in a prepared and 'job-ready' manner.
NSW Minister for skills and tertiary education Dr Geoff Lee said the NSW Training Awards are run by the NSW Department of Education in recognition of outstanding achievements in Vocational Education and Training.
Other winners from the region included Joshua Nickl being named 2020 NSW Apprentice of the Year and conservation and land management trainee Cassandra O'Caroll taking out the School Based Apprentice and Trainee of the Year Award.
Mr Nickl works at the Gumnut Patisserie in the Southern Highlands and followed in the footsteps of his parents after growing in their parent patisserie. His father was also once a finalist in the NSW Apprentice of the Year Awards.
"Joshua regularly competes in industry competitions achieving the Baking Association of Australia's National Apprentice Pastry Chef of the Year in 2017," Mr Lee said.
"He even dedicated his 'spare' time to train over 20 additional hours a week with The Australian Pastry Team. In 2019, they competed in France's Coupe Du Monde competition placing sixth, achieving Australia's best result yet."
Ms O'Caroll took out the School Based Apprentice and Trainee of the Year Award for her achievements with a school-based traineeship in the threatened species department of environmental services at Shoalhaven City Council.
As school captain of Bomaderry High School she created the Sustainable Schools Competition where schools compete for prizes by undertaking eco-friendly initiatives.
During the recent bushfires she also applied the scientific skills she'd learnt at Kiama Community College to help injured wildlife. And documented fatalities, epicormic regrowth after fire and compiled data around weed invasion, feral predation, sedimentation of creeks, and species proliferation.
Ms O'Caroll is also a National Parks Wildlife Services volunteer and has been been a speaker at Nowra's School Strike for Climate rally, a joint recipient of the Victor Chang Science Award, and a participant in the Sonder Youth Leadership Program.
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