Fortescue, in collaboration with Curtin University and the Pilbara Kimberley University Centres, has launched a pilot program providing its First Nations employees with an opportunity to pursue higher education in engineering.
The Graduate in Fortescue Together (GIFT) program allows participants to undertake a Curtin University Undergraduate Certificate in Engineering, fully funded by Fortescue, at the Pilbara University Centres in Port Hedland.
The course will cover four key units delivered by Curtin University staff in a tailored and innovative hybrid mode: Engineering Foundations, Sustainability and Renewable Energy, Fundamentals of Programming, and Resources, Processes, and Materials Engineering. It involves both in-person and online components.
Launching the program today in Port Hedland, Fortescue Metals Chief Executive Officer Dino Otranto congratulated the inaugural cohort of 12 Fortescue employees.
"The GIFT program is so impressive because it’s a remarkable opportunity to get a foot into the world of engineering with the full support and funding of Fortescue.
"This program will drive long-lasting positive change and opportunity for our First Nations team members, while creating exciting new career pathways as we continue to upskill our people."
Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said Curtin was proud to collaborate on the GIFT program and help create meaningful opportunities for First Nations individuals in the field of engineering.
“This program exemplifies the positive impact that partnerships between Curtin and industry leaders like Fortescue can have on our communities," Professor Hayne said.
Pilbara Kimberley University Centres Chief Executive Officer, Susan Grylls, congratulated the students for taking the first step in their learning journey.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of the GIFT program, contributing to the creation of exciting new career pathways for First Nations talent in engineering.
"The GIFT program is a vital step towards empowering First Nations talent in the Pilbara region. By providing an accessible and tailored educational experience, we aim to support students in building successful careers in engineering.”
As at 31 December 2023, Fortescue has 1,369 First Nations employees working across the Company representing 10 per cent of the company's Australian workforce. The inaugural GIFT cohort comprises 12 Fortescue teammates, with an equal gender split and ages ranging from 28 to 49.