New Peel tradies shine at Alcoa 2020 graduation

Trade skills: Apprentice coordinator Craig Watts, apprentices Joe Gilligan, Wade VanElst, Sam Carpenter, Thomas Crosbie, Lachlan Dance, Lachlan Hays, Megan Phillips, Ella Bennett, Tom Okely and Pinjarra Refinery manager Mark Hodgson. Photo: Supplied.
Trade skills: Apprentice coordinator Craig Watts, apprentices Joe Gilligan, Wade VanElst, Sam Carpenter, Thomas Crosbie, Lachlan Dance, Lachlan Hays, Megan Phillips, Ella Bennett, Tom Okely and Pinjarra Refinery manager Mark Hodgson. Photo: Supplied.

Peel apprentices have shone in this year's Alcoa Apprentice of the Year awards.

Three out of the five Apprentices of the Year hail from the Peel region and two of the three Safety Awards also went to young Peel residents.

The recent graduation celebrated 24 newly qualified tradespeople, providing a significant skills-boost for local industry and part of the company's long-term commitment to providing local jobs, for local people.

The graduates spent four years gaining skills in diverse trades including fabrication, mechanical fitting, electrical instrumentation and heavy-diesel mechanics across Alcoa's two bauxite mines and three alumina refineries in the Peel, Kwinana and South West regions of WA.

Of the graduating class nine apprentices are from Pinjarra, four from Wagerup and three from Huntly.

Alcoa's vice president - operations Michael Gollschewski was on hand to congratulate the graduates on their achievement at a recent event in Mandurah.

"Alcoa continues to prioritise workplace diversity across all operational areas and it is particularly pleasing to note that this year's graduating class includes eight females," Mr Gollschewski said.

Pinjarra Alumina Refinery manager Mark Hodgson said that the apprentices were graduating with not only a trade qualification but with pride, confidence and additional abilities, as well as new friendships.

"Well done to Ella Bennett, Sam Carpenter, Thomas Crosbie, Lachlan Dance, Joe Gilligan, Lachlan Hays, Tom Okely, Megan Phillips and Wade VanElst who completed their apprenticeships at the Pinjarra Alumina Refinery," Mr Hodgson said.

"The last four years have given our apprentices the qualifications and skills required to venture out into the workforce as qualified tradespeople. I encourage them now to step out of their comfort zones, continue building upon the skill sets they've developed as Alcoa apprentices and carry on demonstrating their values."

Alcoa apprentice coordinator Craig Watts also congratulated the group, commending the graduates on their hard work.

"The Alcoa apprenticeship program offers a high level of training in a safety focused and diverse environment," Mr Watts said.

"It has been a pleasure to witness the graduates learn and develop over the past four years and is a credit to their determination to succeed as professional tradespeople."

Family, friends and colleagues attended the celebration event, where the following outstanding awards were presented:

2020 Apprentice of the Year

  • Huntly Mine - Luke Bain
  • Pinjarra Refinery - Megan Phillips
  • Wagerup Refinery - Tyler Archibald
  • Willowdale Mine - Ethan Harbour
  • Kwinana Refinery - Craig Harrison

2020 Safety Award

  • Pinjarra Refinery - Lachlan Dance
  • Wagerup Refinery - Laura Cheney
  • Kwinana Refinery - Renae Murcia

Alcoa currently has 101 apprentices employed in WA with another 26 set to start in January 2021, which attracted a highly competitive field of 1699 applicants for the sought-after roles.

For more information on Alcoa's apprenticeship opportunities, visit alcoa.com/apprenticeships.