On Friday night (23 September), Karratha Gas Plant (KGP) Production Technician, Naomi Beath, took out the WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of Year 2016 category at the Department of Training and Workforce Development's WA Training Awards.
Naomi's oil and gas journey started in 2012 when she was accepted as an operations support trainee at the KGP through Woodside's Pathways Program and in 2014 commenced a process plant operator traineeship at Pluto LNG Plant.
Naomi said she had grown up in Karratha and moved to Perth but was looking for a job opportunity which would bring her back to Karratha.
"I started out as an operations support trainee through Woodside's Pathways Program, which involves completing a Certificate 2 and 3 in logistics," Naomi said.
"I didn't have Year 12 under my belt but that didn't stop me from entering the program and taking the opportunity to prove myself enough to become an operator.
"The Pathways Program is a brilliant program if you take advantage of it. If you want to progress into a career, it certainly is the way to go."
Naomi said she had great support whilst a participant in the Pathways Program from Apprenticeships Australia and Woodside's Indigenous Employment team, in particular Indigenous Employment Adviser Lennis Connors, as well as the various supervisors who would regularly check in with her.
This support continued when Naomi was transitioned to the process plant operator traineeship.
"It was very different transitioning to the full traineeship as you learn a lot more about why you're doing particular jobs," she said.
"Previously, I would have known I needed to top up a compressor and why but now I know about all of the different lubrication systems which can be used. So, my depth of knowledge is a lot greater now."
During these traineeships, Naomi was employed by Energy Apprenticeships Group (EAG) and hosted by Woodside.
Earlier this year, Naomi was taken on as a full-time employee at the KGP and will continue to learn about different areas of the plant in the coming years.
"I'm now working in the Domestic Gas Plant at the KGP and it's pretty nerve-racking but I can't complain because there's so much going on and I'm still learning every day."
Woodside's Indigenous Employment and Training Manager, Michael Roe, said it was really great when local people applied, completed their training and got offered a job at the end.
"Naomi is a great recent example of this. She is a Kariyarra woman, who grew up in Karratha, and is now an operator at the Karratha Gas Plant (KGP). What a great story," Michael said.
More on Woodside's apprenticeships and traineeships
Woodside, working alongside EAG, has commenced its 2017 recruitment process in Karratha.
The majority of Woodside's apprentices and trainees for its 2017 program will be drawn exclusively from the City of Karratha community.
Advertised in July and August this year were a range of opportunities, including mechanical and electrical apprenticeships and business administration and process plant operator traineeships.
Also advertised was a laboratory technician traineeship open specifically to Indigenous applicants.
Woodside's Indigenous Employment and Training Manager, Michael Roe, said all of the opportunities advertised in 2016 for intakes in 2017 were open only to those living in the City of Karratha.
"Although there is no definitive guarantee all of our apprentices and trainees will be offered a job, traditionally the majority are," Michael said.
At the end of 2015, Woodside employed 94 Indigenous people, representing 2.7% of its workforce.
Earlier this year, Woodside launched its 2016 Reconciliation Action Plan, which includes a commitment to increase this figure to 4% by of its workforce the end of 2020.
Woodside's Indigenous Pathways Program, which Naomi was previously a participant in, will continue to be an important lever as we strive to reach this targets.