Esso’s newest local recruits

ESSO’S Longford facilities will host 16 new apprentices in a range of fields, and all of them are local.

In partnership with Federation Training and WPC Group, they will complete training in fields including mechanics and electrical.

There are strong connections between some of the apprentices and the plant.

Lucy McParland’s parents met after her father arrived in Sale following the gas plant explosion in 1998, while Nathan Henderson’s dad is still working at the heliport.

Ms McParland, 18, will undertake a dual electrical apprenticeship, and said she was very excited to begin working.

“Electrical interests me, I enjoy solving problems, using my hands and exercising my mind,” she said.

“It was also great to be a woman and represent women in such a facility — I feel really proud to be a part of that, it’s important to me that women get the same opportunities, and I feel very supported.”

Mr Henderson, 19, said he wanted to make the most of his opportunity, with a fitter and turner apprenticeship.

“It’s sort of in the family, but I’ve always had a mechanical background with cars and motorbikes at home, so it’d be good to continue on and go further in the field,” he said.

“(Dad’s) pretty proud and happy for me.

“I’m looking forward to learning new things from other people and putting my skills to the best of my ability toward the job, and making a career out of it.”

Longford’s maintenance superintendent Jim Kristeff, who was born in Heyfield, said having more apprentices would benefit the entire district.

“It’s important to us because from a local pool of people, when you’re trying to actually ramp up, or ramp down, the business here, Esso tends to take a lot of resources from local industries, and if we don’t have a lot more local kids being trained locally that want to stay local, it’s a really big drain on the local community there for businesses to actually grow as an area,” he explained.

“I did my apprenticeship locally — not with Esso, with a small operator — and that gave me embedding of how you can interact and mentor people if you’ve got that one-on-one, and if you do it right in a bigger industry, how much value you get out of that.

“It’s hard to get that mentoring and relationships with a bigger organisation, but that’s what we’re trying to get here.”

The new Federation Training campus in Sale will also encourage young people to take up trades, Mr Kristeff added.

“From a local training opportunity, it means a lot of our apprentices, and for other industries, don’t have to travel away, they don’t have to go away for blocks of training, it makes an opportunity for an apprentice more attractive for local employers because it’s just there,” he said.

“The issue with getting kids into training is when they’re young enough — and you want to get them young enough — they’ve got no mobility for transport, so that local Fed Training facility will provide an avenue for parents and young kids to be able to get through and get some apprenticeships.”

Esso Australia chair Richard Owen dropped into the induction to meet the apprentices, and said he was proud of the company’s local connections.

“I just think it’s so exciting to actually have some new young people in our  organisation, as apprentices, that will bring new ideas, because over time we can sometimes become a bit stale, it’s good to get new ideas in there, and hopefully as they progress through their training we’ll hire some and they’ll come into our organisation with not only the right skills but good ideas that can keep the company fresh and keep it going,” he said.