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Former Alcoa apprentice Eric Penny will travel to Brisbane in May to represent Western Australia in the Worldskills competition.

WorldSkills Australia (WSA) is a national, not-for-profit organisation established in 1981, that provides young Australians the opportunity to gain new skills, compete against their peers in their chosen trade and fast track their career development.

Eric entered the WA Worldskills competition in 2009 in his final year as a fitter-machinist apprentice at our Wagerup Refinery - surprising himself by coming second to another former Alcoa apprentice Jason Harding.

Eric also won the ‘Most Consistently Improved Apprentice’ award at Wagerup for the past two years.

“I’m very proud of him, you couldn’t ask for a better lad,” Eric’s father Neville Penny said.

Eric is one of a long line of people from his family who has ties to Alcoa. The three older Penny brothers (Eric’s dad and two uncles), who come from the Yarloop area, have all worked for the company (Neville, Phil and Brian Penny.)

Neville is based at the Wagerup Refinery, Phil works at Alcoa’s Willowdale Mine nearby, and Brian did his apprenticeship at Alcoa and is now a manager with Westrac. 

Even Neville’s daughter Sarah has spent time doing work experience with the company.

“Alcoa has certainly provided my family with good opportunities. And, many others in the district as well,” Neville said.

More than 60% of our people have been with Alcoa for more than 10 years. Many employees have been with the company for more than 25 years, with some for more than 40 years. Alcoa has several second and even third generation employees.


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Eric Penny (front) with father Neville