The Victorian State Government has introduced a new pre-apprenticeship program, using the West Gate Tunnel project as an opportunity to provide indigenous trainees with a boost in the construction industry.

Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, visited the newest recruits on their first day of work at the West Gate Tunnel’s northern portal site in Footscray.

“The West Gate Tunnel Project is creating opportunities for Indigenous Victorians to get practical training and experience for a career in the construction industry that will set them up for life,” Mr Donnellan said.

“The West Gate Tunnel will slash congestion and take trucks off local roads – but perhaps most importantly, it’s creating 6,000 jobs for Victorians and hundreds of training opportunities for the people that need them most.”

The trainees graduated last week from a four-week Pre-Employment Program and received a Certificate II in Civil Construction at the Kangan Institute in Broadmeadows.

The trainee group of three women and seven men will be placed in various roles across the West Gate Tunnel’s five major worksites in Melbourne’s west, with a support program to ensure a smooth transition into the workforce.

While working on the West Gate Tunnel Project, the trainees will also complete a civil construction Certificate III over 18 months.

The West Gate Tunnel Project Aboriginal Pre-Employment Program has drawn on the experience of industry partners including Kangan Institute and Goal Indigenous Services.

The program included hands-on training to learn practical skills needed for working on major infrastructure projects, including how to read engineering plans and drawings, and use a range of tools and equipment.

The West Gate Tunnel Project is creating 6,000 new jobs, including 500 jobs for apprentices, trainees and graduates and up to 150 jobs for former auto workers.

Construction is well underway on the West Gate Tunnel Project, with more than 2,000 people already working on the project.

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