11 July 2022
After a four-decade tour, Raelene signs off
If you’ve toured Alcoa’s Western Australian bauxite mines or alumina refineries over the past four decades, chances are you’ve met Raelene Jones.
Raelene has toured thousands of people – from primary school students to probus groups to state, national and international leaders – through Alcoa’s operations in the Kwinana, Peel and the Upper South West regions over that time.
After starting as an Alcoa Education Officer in 1978, Raelene hung up her hardhat this month to take on her next exciting adventure – retirement.
Raelene said it was her love for the job that kept her in the role for so long. “I love the engagement with people,” she said.
Raelene was part of the first education team when Alcoa started hosting tours of its Western Australian operations in 1978. Since then, the resources company has taken more than 648,000 people through its two bauxite mines and three alumina refineries.
Despite hosting people from all walks of life, Raelene said she most enjoyed working with high school students.
“Students are very curious and well-informed,” she said. “I really enjoyed having healthy discussions about our operations, understanding their perspectives, and presenting it from Alcoa’s point of view.”
In some instances, those connections with high-school students have come full circle.
“Some of those students have gone on to work for Alcoa and several have said to me ‘I started working here because I was a on tour with you in grade 7 and you inspired me’,” Raelene said.
While Raelene admitted her role has largely stayed the same over the past four decades, she said there had been lots of change around her, the biggest being the representation of women in the workforce.
“I remember when the first woman started driving a haul truck at Huntly mine in the 1980s,” she said, adding after that watershed moment the participation of women in other areas of business spread relatively quickly.
“That has been a great change. That you can now walk into a workshop and it is common to see women working as heavy-duty mechanics or working out on the mine sites.”
Alcoa Corporate Affairs Manager Suellen Jerrard praised Raelene for her outstanding contribution. “Opening our gates to the public so they can see, understand and input into our operations, now and into the future, is a vital part of business and we thank Raelene for the outstanding contribution she has made,” Suellen said.