Aboriginal traineeships help inspire the next generation
For Capel mother-of-two Sharnee Howell the opportunity to mentor someone striving to follow in her professional footsteps is something she has taken in her stride.
Ms Howell completed a school-based traineeship with Water Corporation in 2005, which inspired her to further complete a Certificate II and III in Business.
Almost a decade on and now working as a senior operations assistant at Water Corporation’s Busselton Depot, the former WA Indigenous Trainee of the Year is relishing the opportunity to mentor local student Loretta Calyon.
“I had a few doubts that I wouldn’t be able to do it to begin with as there is so much work to do and taking on supervision of a trainee is a big responsibility,” Ms Howell said.
“I like to be organised so I’ve worked out a schedule that means I can spend more time with Loretta when she’s in the office.”
Ms Howell said she had enjoyed the extra challenge and responsibility and encouraged other youth to consider completing a school-based traineeship through Water Corporation.
“My advice to young Indigenous people is to take an opportunity with open arms and go for it. Don’t be scared you’ll be judged or you won’t be able to complete the challenge as this is why we have traineeships, to help you achieve your goals,” she said.
Loretta (16), who is set to complete her Certificate II in Business in September next year, said she enjoyed being mentored by someone who entered the workforce through a similar pathway.
She said she also enjoyed the hands-on experience, which includes learning about occupational health and safety, communication strategies, digital technologies and how to work effectively with others.
“Sharnee is really helpful and I’m enjoying my work here – I’d really encourage other young people to participate in this program,” Loretta said.
Water Corporation South West Regional Manager John Janssen said Water Corporation offered Certificate II and III qualifications in Water Industry Operations, Certificate III in Business and Certificate IV in Hydrography.
“Water Corporation has a strong commitment to supporting and providing meaningful opportunities for Aboriginal youth around Western Australia,” he said.
“As part of its 2019-21 Reconciliation Action Plan, Water Corporation has pledged to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to a workforce target of six per cent by 2021.”
Water Corporation employs more than 2,700 people to deliver water, wastewater and drainage services across 2.6 million square kilometres to more than two million Western Australians.
Contact: Kylie Olney
Phone: (08) 9791 0412