Back in February this year, when I heard Kevin Rudd’s “˜Sorry Speech’, I was moved by his words and was inspired to do something tangible for my fellow Indigenous Australians,” said Leng Saw, Managing Director of pipeline training firm Romea. “I thought long and hard about what I could do and came up with a scheme which I believe will work.”
“There is an opportunity here for Indigenous Australians to be trained to carry out many of the tasks on pipeline easements, which are currently done by fully qualified trade-level pipeline technicians. There might even be opportunities for Indigenous Australians to be trained to carry out station work.”
Romea is a registered training organisation and has been providing competency-based training in the oil and gas industry for over 10 years. The company’s clients operate pipelines that span vast distances through outback areas all across Australia. Romea provides training for pipeline technicians from basic level, through to Certificate IV level.
“It requires that different groups of people play their parts but if we all do, the end result will be worth it. I can see a “˜win-win’ situation” said Mr Saw.
“To give the training credence, I ask that pipeline operating companies support this project by considering suitably trained and qualified Indigenous Australians for “˜real jobs’ on the pipeline. Over the next few months, I will be approaching pipeline operating companies for their support.”
Leng has also contacted appropriate State and Federal Government departments for their support and collaboration in this initiative. At a Federal level, this training and job placement initiative is currently with the Hon Julia Gillard, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education. Leng is hopeful that government will facilitate mobilising suitable Indigenous Australians to join this scheme.
For the scheme to work, Indigenous community leaders need to work within their community to identify and nominate suitable candidates for the training, qualification and job placement.
“I am sure that many in the community who wish to help our fellow Indigenous Australians recognise that it is important to acquire new skills and be placed in real jobs.”
Mr Saw notes, “In the current skills shortage environment, this can’t be a bad thing. This reorganisation and restructuring of labour can bring direct financial benefits to the operating company by freeing up more experienced personnel for higher level work.”
“I am not naÃ¯ve to the potential difficulties that this scheme will face, but I am willing to take up the challenge. If I can convince others to join this effort, what a wonderful thing this can be. I want Romea to be a good corporate citizen and this is one significant way we can do this. You just have to look at where gas transmission pipelines run to realise what a tremendous opportunity we are presented with. Let’s take up the challenge. I’ve thrown down the gauntlet. Will others join in?”