Fourteen young Indigenous Australians started cattle station traineeships on Virginia Park station, near Charters Towers in North Queensland on 2nd March 2015 through MEGT’s Indigenous Apprenticeship and Traineeship Network. Although this was day one of their employment, it marked the end of a detailed training, recruitment and selection process of over 150 applicants from throughout Queensland.
The traineeships have been created through a partnership between many stakeholders: National Indigenous Pastoral Enterprises (NIPE), a subsidiary of The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) is hosting and supervising the trainees on four of its stations in Far North Queensland. Participating stations are Bulimba, Crocodile/Welcome and Merepah stations. Training services for the Certificate II in Agriculture are being provided by Rural Industry Training and Extension Ltd (RITE). A range of Job Services Australia and Regional Jobs and Community Program providers are also contributing to the project.
“This partnership is providing opportunities to give another terrific group of young aspirants a real head start,” said Terry Balle from MEGT. “We’ve chosen a really diverse group this year,” he said. “It’s been a great start. Spirits are very high. Laughter and chatter from the training camp dormitory was keeping me awake long after lights out!”
“The Jackaroos and Jillaroos know what an opportunity they have got. Australia loves to romanticise the outback and the rural lifestyle but few city people ever get to see a cattle station let alone work on a muster or load 12 decks of cattle on three road trains as the sun rises.”
“These lucky folk will get to see it all. They will enjoy the sunsets, campfires, fishing and horse riding competitions. They may even hear an old stockman recite his Banjo Patterson favourites if they’re lucky. They will work hard and learn a range of life skills to be station hands in the Australian bush, all while participating in a full-time traineeship designed to prepare them for life and a career in the cattle industry on country.”