In April 2017, Woodside and Energy Apprenticeships Group (EAG) held their annual awards night, celebrating the achievements of Woodside-hosted apprentices and trainees in Karratha.
Woodside’s apprentices and trainees are employed by EAG, part of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia, during their training.
In 2017, Woodside and EAG are also celebrating 20 years of working together and, during this time, some 260 Woodside-hosted apprentices and trainees have accepted permanent positions with Woodside.
In 2017 alone, 28 EAG-employed apprentices and trainees commenced their training at Woodside facilities in the following areas:
- Mechanical fitting
- Electrical and instrumentation
- Business administration
- Laboratory skills
- Process plant operations
All new apprentices and trainees in 2017 are residential, living and training in Karratha.
Woodside's Asset Manager at the Karratha Gas Plant, Andrew Lobb, said 'growing our own' was a key focus for Woodside.
"By working with EAG we are creating a pipeline of skilled personnel to operate our facilities into the future," Andrew said.
"Wherever possible, we take on residential trainees and apprentices to give locals the opportunity to complete training and gain full-time employment here in Karratha".
At the recent awards night held in Karratha, the 2017 High Achiever award for graduating apprentices and trainees was shared between instrumentation electrical apprentice Braden Levis and mechanical apprentice Mikayla Smith.
Mikayla, who accepted a full-time position with Woodside in February 2017, said she felt nervous starting her apprenticeship four years ago.
"I was really nervous being on such a big site and knowing very little about the LNG process and the job," Mikayla said.
"But everyone was really welcoming and there were five first-year mechanical apprentices in my group so we helped each other a lot."
Mikayla said she found out about the apprenticeship at school where she completed a pre-apprenticeship, learning basic skills that she said were very helpful when starting her apprenticeship with Woodside.
"I was doing the pre-apprenticeship program so I already had an idea that it was what I wanted to do but Woodside people came and talked to us about the opportunities and I applied," she said.
"I really owe it to the people in the Production Academy on site at Karratha Gas Plant and the tradespeople who helped me along the way.
"They really set us up for success by teaching us our trade and all of the other things we needed to know about permits, working safely and other areas".
Mikayla said she felt privileged to win the award alongside Braden and thanked the EAG and Woodside teams who organised the event.
Mikayla is currently working in the Domestic Gas area of the Karratha Gas Plant.
Woodside employee, Luke Caldwell, who graduated from an instrumentation electrical apprentice apprenticeship in 2010, also attended the awards night but in a different capacity.
Luke has worked both offshore and onshore as a maintenance technician and six months ago, moved into a training role at the Production Academy.
Luke said it had felt somewhat surreal interviewing potential new apprentices and trainees last year.
"It wasn't that long ago that I was on the other side of the table myself, being interviewed," Luke said.
"As a tradesperson, I was always very happy to get involved in teaching and sharing my knowledge so this has been a natural transition for me."
Luke said his role was to bring instrumentation electrical apprentices, who spent the majority of their time either at TAFE or in the field, back to the Production Academy to provide specific industry or site-specific training.
"I also spend a lot of time going to pre-starts and job sites to speak to the apprentices and supervisors and see how people are travelling," he said.
"You have 50-odd young people learning their trade at any one time and rotating into a new area of the plant every three or four months, so it is important that we are there to provide support.
"A few years ago, we started assigning a tradesperson as a mentor to each apprentice and this has been a great initiative.
"They now have a focal point to ask any questions about their trade or anything else they may be struggling with."
Luke said he felt proud watching all of the apprentices and trainees receive their awards at the recent awards night.
The next round of apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities for 2018, will be advertised mid-year (2017).
2017 EAG Awards Night winners
- High Achiever – First-Year Apprentice Award – Corey Malpass, Communications Apprentice
- High Achiever – Second-Year Apprentice Award – Jesse Maiorana, Mechanical Apprentice
- High Achiever – Third-Year Apprentice Award – Adam Bell, Electrical Apprentice
- Business Administration High Achiever Award – Jemma Twidle, Business Administration Trainee
- Mirnuwarnigu Yirdiya (MY) Pathways High Achiever Award – Shian Wescombe, Logistics Operator Trainee
- High Achiever Award – Operations Support – Glen Harrington, Operations Support Trainee
- Safety High Achiever Award – Will Chrisp, Communications Apprentice
- Woodside Graduating Apprentice – High Achiever Award – Braden Levis, Electrical Apprentice and Mikayla Smith, Mechanical Apprentice
- Mentor of the Year Award – Communications – Regen McWhirter, Communications Technician
- Mentor of the Year Award – Mechanical – Stan Pitt, Maintenance Technician LNG and Lee Wozniuk, Maintenance Technician Pluto
- Mentor of the Year Award – Electrical – Rob Nelligan, Maintenance Technician Frontline
- Mentor of the Year Award – Business Administration – Vicki Calverley, Administration Assistant
- Mentor of the Year Award – Mirnuwarnigu Yirdiya (MY) Pathways – Dillia Gagliano, Logistics Operator
Woodside Mentor of the Year Award – Operations Support – Kevin Ugle, Operations Technician – Storage and Loading