Matera drafts high-flyers
If you'd asked a young Kieran Turner what he wanted to be when he grew up, it would've been a professional camper that involved plenty of fishing.
Now, at 27, he's pinching himself after landing a Production Technician position at Pluto - back in the Pilbara where he's from.
"I'm really enjoying my job up here in Karratha. It also means I get the lifestyle I've always wanted and give my children what I had growing up - camping and fishing, now I can teach them everything I know."
In the lead up to becoming an Operator at Pluto, Kieran completed an Operations Support Traineeship and Operations Traineeship at Karratha Gas Plant.
He says the opportunities he was given as an indigenous apprentice at Matera Electrical in Perth set him up for his future.
Former West Coast Eagle Phil Matera, who is Director of Matera Electrical, had spoken at Kieran's school and told him if he finished year 12, he'd offer him an apprenticeship.
"He's a big reason why I finished school. I started on some cool jobs - working at Elizabeth Quay and big buildings you see in movies. It allowed me to experience a lot of things and gave me direction. They also employ a lot of good tradies who are great to learn off and ask questions. Nothing was a big deal.
Kieran's success is a prime example of why Matera Electrical recently won this year's Small Business Employer of the Year at the WA Training Awards.
"When we first started working with Woodside 8 years ago, there weren't many Aboriginal employees across the site, but over this time we've created the pathway for apprentices to be trained up there and work directly with the company - it's an awesome outcome," said Phil Matera.
Matera Electrical has now trained 16 male and female Aboriginal apprentices, who have all worked at KGP and Pluto, with some going on to work for Woodside directly.
Meg O’Neill congratulated Matera Electrical on their award.
"This is an outstanding achievement and recognises your commitment to achieving excellence in safety performance, providing high-quality work and actively training employees with a team focused approach."
Kieran also offers advice for any indigenous people considering an apprenticeship.
"Be patient. Have faith in yourself and trust those around you. A lot of people believed in me before I believed in myself. It is hard doing a trade but stick by it. Talk to the appropriate people and don't be afraid to say you're struggling or that something's not making sense. Speak up. People will help you if they know you need help."