Alcoa preparing future leaders of industry
High school students near Alcoa’s operations in Victoria and WA have been given an up-close look at careers in resources and manufacturing, thanks to our successful long-running Future Leaders of Industry scholarship programs.
Around our Geelong and Portland operations, the Future Leaders of Industry (FLOI) program proved to be a big hit again in 2008, with 25 high school students from 11 local secondary schools in Geelong, and 21 students from a number of local schools in Portland taking part.
The FLOI program, launched in Victoria in 2004, aims to attract students (male and female) to the manufacturing industry, allowing them to study aspects of the industry through a structured six month program.  It encourages participants to follow a study path, whether that is an apprenticeship, TAFE course or university degree, which will help to make them eligible for future job selection, possibly at Alcoa.
At Point Henry, the program is coordinated in partnership with the Geelong Regional Vocational Educational Council and is supported by the Geelong Manufacturing Council and 17 local businesses.
At Portland Aluminium, the South West Local Learning Education Network and Australian Industry Group support the program, along with seven partner businesses.
Flinders Peak Secondary College student Mitchell Harris spent his buddy days at our Point Henry smelter.
"I have gained so much from this experience including the importance of team work and safety in the workplace.  It was also surprising to learn just how much is involved in producing aluminium and how many different processes it takes to get the final product,“ he said.
Portland Aluminium’s Physiotherapist Lesley Walker and Occupational Nurse Jocelyn Sherwood took part in a mentoring day, educating two scholarship participants interested in careers in radiology, nursing or dentistry.
“A couple of our fellow employees volunteered to assist the students’ learning, so we were able to take them through a real medical and physio treatment while the students were present,” Lesley said.
“The students even observed an Emergency Response Officer relocating a wayward koala!
“They were surprised at the variety and extent of Occupational Hygiene & Safety opportunities within the industry and the actual size of the smelter work environment,” she said.
Bellarine Secondary College teacher, Cheryl Linford, thanked Alcoa for the important experience for her students.
“As a Science teacher, I also gained valuable professional development from the visit on site,” she said.
The FLOI program is a demonstration of Alcoa’s commitment to providing further education and training opportunities to local young people.
Meanwhile, 43 Year 10 students from 22 schools in the Peel and South-West regions of WA participated in our Future Women of Industry (FWOI) program.  FWOI, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2008, aims to assist, mentor and educate enthusiastic young women and provide guidance on where their future careers could take them.  The program in WA differs from the program in Victoria in that there is a focus on young women.
Over five consecutive days, the students participated in tours of Alcoa’s operations, science workshops, TAFE and university tours, one-on-one buddy sessions with Alcoa employees, networking events with Alcoa women, corporate volunteering activities, and the chance to listen to insightful guest speakers.
WA Operations Human Resources Manager, Carl Phillips, said: “This program aims to demystify the mining industry to young women in our community. At Alcoa, we have diverse opportunities in many careers locally, nationally and internationally and Future Women of Industry scholarship winners experience all this as they meet a diverse group of Alcoans.
“We have seen the success of the program through former scholarship participants who have gone on to become Alcoa apprentices and trainees, tradespersons and professionals.”
Co-Chair of the Alcoa Women's Network Steering Committee, Sandra Pigdon, said: “These students are at an age where they are starting to think about career options.  We are pleased to be providing a forum for young women to get first-hand insights into our industry – an industry that’s exciting and fulfilling.”
Both the Victorian and WA programs form part of Alcoa’s commitment to raising the profile of resources and manufacturing careers and diversifying our workforce.

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2008 Future Women of Industry participants Cindy White and Belinda Macukat investigate career opportunities at Alcoa’s Kwinana alumina refinery.