Martu Education Alliance launches Direct Instruction program at Telfer
TELFER recently hosted a meeting of the Martu Education Alliance to officially launch the Direct Instruction (DI) program in the region.
About 70 participants from various backgrounds and including some 50 Martu people, attended the launch.
Noel Pearson, head of Cape York Partnerships and one of Australia’s best known Indigenous leaders, presented at the meeting.
Noel discussed how his organisation is addressing aboriginal disadvantage in general, with a specific focus on education and what is known as the DI approach to childhood learning.
The DI methodology has been successfully trialled by Cape York Partnerships in remote schools with notable success and is now to be introduced in the Western Desert schools around Telfer.
Telfer’s Community Relations Superintendent Ben Bryant said there was great enthusiasm and commitment in the area for the program.
“There is a consensus that the DI approach will make a significant difference to school attendance rates, which is one of the region’s big challenges, as well as to educational outcomes, specifically in the important areas of literacy and numeracy.”
Also attending the meeting was Federal Member for Perth, Alannah MacTiernan, who has a long-standing interest in, and commitment to, the people in the region.
Curtin University was also represented at the meeting, proposing to add a health component to the DI approach. Curtin propose utilising their final year students to provide occupational health services and support, including speech therapy, to identify, diagnose and treat any potential disorders that may be preventing children from these remote communities reaching their full potential in the classroom.
Dump truck trainees take their seats
SEVERAL INDIGENOUS men and women have taken up opportunities offered in Telfer’s Open Pit to train as ‘hot seat’ operators in dump trucks.
A ‘hot seat’ operator’s role is to jump from truck to truck during break periods, ensuring that the vehicles are continually running throughout each shift, thereby maintaining maximum operational efficiency.
It was agreed that Telfer would start training local Indigenous workers for the hot seat positions.
The training course took about two weeks to complete and included inductions, driving simulators, ‘buddying-up’ in trucks, learner driving, and a final assessment.
The first two trainees to complete the training were Frank Mairu and Joseph Wigness, both of whom were recruited from South Hedland.
Bryan Smith, Telfer’s Open Pit Training Officer, delivered encouraging feedback on how Frank and Joseph trained and performed. Both men were soon offered full-time driving positions.
Several trainees have since followed in Frank and Joseph’s steps over the past nine months and have enjoyed similar success.
In addition to Frank and Joseph, Telfer’s current full-time Indigenous dump truck operators include Sharon Bieundurry (Wangkajungka Community), Phillip Kelly (Hedland), Stephen James (Wangkajungka Community), Julian Ugle (Perth), Dannii Lawson (Hedland), Carla Querro (Jigalong), David Sampi (Broome), and Jackson Ware (Hedland).
“The current crew of Community Relations drivers have shown a great willingness to learn and the mentors who trained these guys at the beginning did a great job, passing on their knowledge and experience to get them where we needed them,” Bryan Smith reported.
Thanks are due to Michael Valent, Peter Udy, Toby Denham and their team at the Open Pit for creating the new training opportunity for the Indigenous men and women.
Byron’s come a long way
BYRON RYAN travels about nine hours every fortnight, either on his way to work at Telfer or heading home after his swing, to spend time with family.
Always with a ready smile and enjoying telling a story or two, Byron makes his way from the Bidyadanga community, located some 190km south of Broome, to the Light Vehicle Workshop in Telfer.
Byron is a very keen fisherman and, while on leave, spends most days catching reef fish and mud crabs.
The 28-year old was born in Broome and moved to Bidyadanga when he was aged 5.
Byron has represented the Parnngurr Tiger Swans in the Western Desert League, where he played alongside family members.
Byron has worked hard over the past three years gaining experience with the mill and underground crews during shutdowns.
He has also worked at the Telfer gatehouse with the security team while waiting for a full-time opportunity to work at Telfer.
Recently, Byron commenced a full-time role at Telfer’s Light Vehicle Workshop.
He is responsible for driving the service truck and fuelling up the many gensets around Telfer site.
Byron is currently learning how to service vehicles and is assisting with keeping the workshop and storeroom tidy.
“It’s a good experience, learning how to drive the service truck, and the crew are good to have a yarn with at lunch,” Byron said.
“I’m enjoying every bit of my life and working at Telfer.”
Fairwell and Welcome
RECENT MONTHS have seen the departure from Telfer of a significant and positive member of Telfer’s Community Relations team, and the appointment of a new Liaison and Aboriginal Employment Officer. Peter McLennan was a strong supporter of Martu communities in the Western Desert. Peter has now handed in his mobile phone, which he used tirelessly for more than four years as he identified or sought training and employment opportunities for Indigenous men and women at Telfer, and in finding and mentoring the people ready and willing to grasp those opportunities and challenges. Peter’s links with the Martu date back several years. Before joining the Community Relations team, he was Principal at the RAWA School in Punmu, and followed that appointment as Punmu’s Community Coordinator. Peter was an invaluable contributor to Newcrest’s commitments to enhancing the lives of members of Martu communities in the region. We thank him, and wish him well.
Welcome to the nest Mick
MICHAEL (MICK) McMAHON is Community Relations’ new Liaison and Aboriginal Employment Officer.
During the past few years Mick has worked as a heritage field supervisor with BHP Billiton; as a heritage advisor with Rio Tinto; and as a heritage field coordinator and contract project manager for the Indigenous vocational training and employment centre with Fortescue Metals. He was also previously with the WA Police Service for 20 years. In those roles, Mick has established positive relationships with community leaders and individuals as part of his regular duties.
“I understand the value that can be generated from developing and maintaining constructive working relationships that are beneficial to all parties,” Mick said.
On a personal note, Mick has four children – James, Nic, Claudia and Zara – and enjoys watching the boys play Aussie Rules football, James for West Coast Amateurs and Nic for Scarborough. Mick also reported he is very keen on the AFL, and his favourite team is the West Coast Eagles. Welcome to the nest, Mick. – Ed.
NGURRA KUJUNGKA Inc, the independent Martu-owned organisation responsible for managing the delivery of sports programs throughout the Pilbara and Western Desert region, is enjoying a growing reputation for doing things ‘right.’
One of its more recent successes was sending a representative team from Martu lands to Perth to participate in training and demonstration games at the Australian National Softball Champions held at Softball WA headquarters in Mirrabooka earlier this year.
For most of the girls, the tour was the first time they had travelled to Perth, and they thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. Following the successful trip, Ngurra Kujungka leaders decided it would be appropriate to recognise the significant financial and in-kind contributions Newcrest Mining had made to the organisation, and the development and success of Martu sport and recreation programs over the past 13 years.
Accordingly, Ngurra Kujungka Deputy Chairman Daniel Toby recently presented a framed softball jersey created especially for the Perth softball tour, to Telfer Operations General Manager, Steve Cowle.
A similar gift was forwarded to Sandeep Biswas, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Newcrest Mining Limited. Both Sandeep and Steve expressed their gratitude for the gifts to Newcrest.
A local team of Martu community members has been working closely to deliver a Weeds Management Program with Telfer’s Environment Department. The Weeds program targets the previously introduced weeds Kapok and Buffel, which now threaten to overtake the natural spinifex grasses found around Telfer.
The Weeds team has been instrumental in helping protect the natural environment. The team comprises local men Grinden Crow, Preston Ginger, Peter Horace and Greyton Yamera, who hail from the local communities of Warralong and Strelley. With the ongoing support of Telfer’s Environmental Department, the program has been running successfully for more than two years.
Making a Contribution
NEWCREST MINING has invested significantly over the past dozen years in supporting Martu communities, comprising some 2500 people spread across thousands of square kilometres in the lands surrounding the Telfer Gold Mine, which is located about 450km east of Port Hedland.
The Company has also supported wider communities and events held in the region.
Since signing formal Agreements with the Martu in 2003, which assisted Newcrest in undertaking a $1.4 billion expansion of Telfer, Newcrest has contributed millions of dollars, together with manpower, resources, intellectual know-how, administrative support and services in supporting the Martu.
Newcrest has worked with the Martu in delivering training, employment and business development opportunities. The Company has also assisted individuals within its neighbouring Indigenous communities to help themselves in achieving three clear outcomes: to be healthier, better educated, and more meaningfully occupied.
Sport and Recreation
Newcrest has played a leadership role since 2003 in delivering the Desert Sport Development Program in the region. In more recent years, the Company has been closely involved in the evolution and growth of the Ngurra Kujungka Sports Council, which has conducted a number of sports festivals held in various communities each year, each of which attracts several hundred players, their families, and community members.
Ngurra Kujungka Inc is independently controlled and managed by elected Martu community representatives. Newcrest and the WA Department of Sport and Recreation have partnered for several years in funding the appointment of Indigenous Sports Development Officers to help deliver a range of sport and recreation programs.
Newcrest’s sponsorship activities extend beyond local Indigenous sports programs to include support for regional events including the annual Garnduwa Sports Festival, Marble Bar Race Day and Softball WA National Championships..
‘CHRISTMAS FATHER,’ as he’s known in the Indigenous communities of the Western Desert, is also well-known to Telfer’s Community Relations team.
They have helped him in his workshop preparing gifts, and with providing transport to various locations across a vast region, for the past several years.
Santa’s most recent tour included stop-overs at Kunawarritji, Parnngurr, Jigalong, Nullagine, Marble Bar, Warralong and Punmu (in the photo, some readers may recognise Christine Lawson and Jacqui Dellamarta, who volunteered to assist Santa and the Community Relations team).
And, word has it that Christmas Father is now already back in his workshop and preparing goodies for another tour in a few months’ time!.