partnering stronger communities

life-changing experience for local students
In July, we shared with you the story of eleven young Australian students, from the regions around our operations, travelling to Canada after receiving Alcoa Global Service Leaders Scholarships.

The students are now back from Dwight International School on Vancouver Island and raving about their leadership experience. 

The scholarships form part of Alcoa’s long-standing commitment to build stronger communities by investing in tomorrow’s leaders.

The students from Perth, Mandurah and Waroona in WA, and Portland and Geelong in Victoria, spent two weeks learning how to ‘make service count’.  They learned about “sustainable leadership” and key skills to enable them to lead now and into the future. During workshops, team-building exercises and excursions, highly trained educators pushed the students to reach their highest leadership potential.

Below, we hear from some of the students themselves …

Rayne Lynes
“On the first day we were asked to think of a leader and only one of the 82 students thought of himself.  The academy questioned our own ability as a leader and asked us to dig within to find out what makes us as individuals important to this world.

“The inspirational speakers and the great cultural diversity are two things I will never forget. It opened my eyes to a world outside of my community. I realised the importance of communication - this is the key to understanding the way people live their lives all around the world.  I now understand that we should never make assumptions because what we may believe to be right, could mean the complete opposite to someone else.”

Rayne’s father Trevor works at Wagerup Refinery.

Rachel Hair
“I would highly recommend this to others. Even the application process was a great experience as it makes you think about yourself and your values.  The experience itself was amazing.

“I learnt that to be a successful leader, the first and most important step is to believe that you can be one. Because if you don’t believe in yourself then you won’t get anywhere, and this can apply to anything in life. A great life lesson!

“The other thing is that sometimes, especially in team activities, there is a point where the leader has to step back and let the followers come forward. The leader shouldn’t be in control 24/7, they have to be able to build the other members up in their own personal strengths to maximise the teams effectiveness.”

Rachel’s father Jim works at Pinjarra Refinery.

Hannah Owen
“Having the opportunity to not only meet but to learn about and live with so many people from different cultures was the highlight of the trip. I cannot explain how grateful I am to Alcoa for having provided me with such an invaluable experience.

“The Academy provides a wonderful way for motivated, passionate youth to come together and expand their horizons in order to make a difference throughout the world. Little steps to create vast positive change is what we all focused on.

“I learnt to keep an open mind and be accepting of other people's opinions because often cultural differences can make for wonderful new ideas.”

Hannah’s mother Linda Owen works at Peel Office in WA.

Thomas Polinelli
“I would like to take this opportunity to truly thank the Alcoa Foundation for offering me this opportunity and I will definitely encourage other aspiring leaders to take part in the future.  For me, a truly spectacular experience!

“I now have lifelong skills that I can transfer to everything I do every day and hopefully can share with others.  I have made friends with people from all over the globe (eg: Lebanon, Korea, Russia), all of whom have a variety of interests, backgrounds and cultures and yet we are all now united through our common experience.  I now have relationships with mentors who I will stay in contact with via Facebook and Skype and who can provide me with advice when I need it.

“I learned that whatever your goal, you will succeed through perseverance - anything is possible if you set yourself a goal and strive to achieve it.  And by working to make small changes these can contribute to a big improvement overall.   No matter who you are, what you do, or where you come from, you can make a difference.”

Thomas’ dad Fred works at Wagerup Refinery

Nicola Symons
“I learned so many things, but the first thing was how similar people from other countries are. I was worried about the cultural and language differences but I so quickly realised we were all so alike -all teenagers focused on enjoying our time there. I’ve made some really close friends from different countries and can’t wait to visit them! 

“The second thing I learned, which meant a lot to me, were communication skills and what skills a great leader has. These are so important in any situation and are the basics to begin any plan, movement or project.

“I was a bit nervous about being around 80+ teenagers I’ve never met before. Within the first few hours I was so surprised, everyone there was so friendly, easy to talk to and great people. The Academy allowed me to learn so much about different cultures, people, communication and of course, leadership skills. I’m still surprised at just how good it truly was.”

Nicola’s father Peter works at Portland Aluminium in Victoria.

Jessica Walmsley
“Meeting new people from 24 countries, understanding their different types of lifestyles and learning that everyone can be a leader – all you need is confidence – was my key takeaway.

“I learnt to be a better communicator and to be more confident.

“The most challenging part was to understand the importance of opening up and letting people help me to be a leader.  It’s important to allow people to know me and to get to know them.  It’s important to communicate with all different people from everywhere and accept people work differently.”

Jessica’s mother Kylie works at Willowdale Mine in WA.

These Australian students were among 50 scholarship recipients from 21 countries, chosen from a pool of 450 applicants from around the globe. The scholarships were made possible through the Alcoa Foundation’s partnership with the Institute for Civic Leadership (ICL). A further 32 students also attended, not on scholarship.

The Alcoa scholarships covered program costs, including: tuition, roundtrip international travel, and passport and visa fees.

kwinana swim schools supports special needs
Water safety in Kwinana has received a boost, thanks to a new partnership between Alcoa and the Kwinana Recquatic Centre.

As well as swimming lessons already provided by the Alcoa Swim Schools, our additional funding will broaden the program to include water safety and fitness classes for disabled and special needs children and adults.

Acting Kwinana Refinery Manager, Scott Thompson, said the partnership was an important extension to the Alcoa Swim Schools, meeting three crucial aspects of Alcoa’s community health and safety culture:

  • Increasing participation in healthy lifestyle behaviours;
  • Decreasing the risk of injury at home, at work and at play; and
  • Improving the availability and accessibility of community services for people with special needs.
“We should all feel safe around the water, especially for a community that is so closely linked to the coast and arguably some of this state’s cleanest and well managed beaches,” Mr Thompson said.

Town of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams praised the new and improved Alcoa Swim School program.

“It is wonderful to see support being provided to initiatives which promote a healthier and safer Kwinana community,” Mayor Adams said.

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