28 Feb 2024

KGP apprentice takes home Citizen of the Year

As the old saying goes, not all heroes wear capes and at Woodside, there are many unsung heroes working amongst us.


Meet Rhian, a fourth year, Programmed Inlec apprentice at Karratha Gas Plant, who has just been awarded the City of Karratha's Citizen of the Year. 

An acknowledgement of her dedication to volunteering, to help keep the Karratha community safe. 

When Rhian moved to Karratha from Perth over a decade ago, she didn't know anyone. To meet people and make friends, she joined the Karratha Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, where she now holds a senior position and the group quickly became her pseudo-family. 

At DFES, she's on-call 24/7 with requests for jobs including road crash rescues, house fires, HAZMAT incidents and assisting WAPOL.  

Rhian also obtained a Trainer Assessor Qualification to run training courses for new members of the brigade. She also collaborates with other emergency services to run joint training sessions. She mentors new members, while building a cadet program for the volunteer fire brigade. 

But Rhian's contribution to the community didn't stop at fire and rescue. Five years ago, she joined St John Ambulance in Karratha as an Emergency Medical Technician volunteer, working 12-hour shifts. She runs jobs and deals with patients, working alongside paramedics.  

She’s attended more than 800 jobs in and around Karratha, and she also helped at the 2019-2020 Black Summer fire in QLD. She also volunteers at community events like Speedway, Karratha's FeNaClNG festival, santa lolly runs, youth cadets and school visits.  

Many of these community events cannot run without emergency service volunteers on stand-by. 

"I just love giving back to the community and helping people in times of need. It's what I enjoy doing in my spare time. Some people play sport. I volunteer," said Rhian.  

She says the positives of her volunteer work, far outweigh the tough jobs.  

“You can go to a job that'll involve a little kid and you're trying to make them smile and giggle to take away what they're going through or assisting elderly patients and making them feel comfortable. It's those joys that make it all worthwhile," said Rhian.  

Working a nine-day fortnight with quarterly TAFE blocks, Rhian says she wouldn't be able to volunteer without Programmed and Woodside support.  

"My Woodside supervisors are so supportive and Programmed has been amazing - both workplaces often do wellness checks on me after a bad incident." 

"But I try to not let the volunteer jobs impact on my apprenticeship, so I opt for weekend rosters at St John and I choose urgent jobs for fire and rescue, so I can prioritise my work first." 

Rhian says her commitment to the Pilbara community is stronger than ever, after recently buying her own home in Karratha. 

"I’ll be volunteering for these organisations for the long-haul because I absolutely love it. It really makes you feel like you're a big part of the community and I can definitely call myself a local now."