Brilliant Trainees

They’re motivated. They’re interested. They’ve bonded together as a team. And trainer Bruce Keane is confident each of the 14 men and women from Warralong, South Hedland and Bidyadanga will successfully complete their studies. This is the fourth group of Telfer-based students Bruce has trained in the past three years, and the first students to undertake a Pilbara TAFE Level Two course in Resources and Infrastructure Operations. Bruce is full of praise for this new intake of students, aged from 20 to 42 years, as they study and work their way through the 13-week course that offers a mix of academic elements and practical work experience.
“They have been fantastic,” said Bruce. “They had three false starts, due to road access to Telfer being cut because of floods and a cyclone, but they’re now here at Telfer, and happy, diligent, mature, attending all classes, supporting each other, and learning. “When you leave them for a minute, you don’t return to a class of screaming kids. They are working away quietly, learning and working on their assignments as you left them.
“As an educator, you’d rate this class as simply brilliant,” Bruce said.
Course participant Peter Horace offered an explanation. “We all wanted to do this course,” said the 41-year-old from Warralong. “I want to be a haulpack driver, and this course will help. If I get a job, it will be well-paid.
“I’ve enjoyed the course a lot. I’m learning with friends. It’s been good fun.”
Fellow-student Lindsay Balbal (27) from Bidyadanga agrees. “There’s no point hanging around at home doing nothing,” Lindsay said. “I want to work. Perhaps start as a Pit Technician, then move onto driving trucks. In this course, we learn how to complete the formal requirements to get a driver’s licence. “I like the course, it’s very practical. I’ve learnt a lot about work safety and the potential dangers, and duty of care, and I’ve learnt how to look after myself and those around me at work. After the study, we will get some work experience. After that, maybe I’ll get a job. “Living and studying at Telfer on a one-week-on-one-week-off roster for the duration of the course has not been a problem. I enjoy it here at Telfer. The course, accommodation, food, it’s all good.
“And the people are good. They say hello even though we don’t know them. They make us feel very welcome. It’s all good.”

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Bruce Keane leads the trainees in a study session at Telfer.
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Trainees carry out some basic mechanical tasks.
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Peter Horace practises his skills as a forklift driver under the guidance of instructor Mark McDonald.