Mill starters secure sweet job
FOUR new apprentices starting at Wilmar's Prosperine mill left their old life behind this week and turned the page on a new chapter in their lives.
Caleb Robinson, Sam Johnson, Liam Dand and Matthew Bailey donned the orange and blue for the first time this week at the mill and navigated their way along a paper trail before landing in the media spot light.
For Prossie lad Sam Johnson, who has grown up with a father who works at the mill, the chance to take on a career as a fitter and turner was a logical career choice.
"I wanted to get a trade and I thought fitting would be the most versatile. I think its a great industry to get into and I know Wilmar looks after its employees,” he said.
The 17-year-old who graduated from Proserpine High School last year said he always had a strong mechanical inclination.
"I loved playing with Lego as a kid and and I would help dad whenever he needed a hand and I just liked to build stuff.”
The new apprentice said he considered a start at the Proserpine sugar mill this week as a real opportunity.
Wilmar Sugar in its annual apprenticeship intake has signed up 35 new apprentices for work at the company's mills.
Training superintendent Scott Young said all apprentices had been evaluated against a rigorous selection criteria which balanced academic performance and previous work experience.
"We don't value one as more important than the other. We want to see they are passing school but we also want to see they have had a taste of the work they they are going to go into as well,” he said.
"Once they complete that, there is aptitude testing and they will go through an employment assessment, which involves an interview and practical activities in which they actually have to make something from a diagram and bolt it all together.”
Two electricians, one boiler maker and one fitter and turner were inducted by Wilmar in Proserpine this week.
This year, 18 of the new apprentices will be based in the Burdekin region, seven in the Herbert, four at Proserpine Mill and five at Plane Creek Mill, Sarina.
"Our new recruits have just completed a two-week Safe Start Program in the Burdekin to introduce them to safe workplace behaviours,” Mr Young said.
They started work at their respective sites on Monday, joining about 90 other apprentices undertaking trade training across Wilmar's eight sugar mills.