July 18th 2014

On the 7th of July, Sandy McEwan and Mark Simpson delivered an adapted version of our Working Together program, combined with elements of our Working with Indigenous Employees program to a group of new Indigenous apprentices and their leaders. There were 20 participants including 14 apprentices and leaders, as well as observers and support staff.

The aim of the program was to kick-off the apprentices working life in Rio Tinto on a foundation of open communication and understanding. Sandy shared many of the challenges he experienced as a young Aboriginal trainee in Hamersley Iron’s ATAL program as well as the problems he faced completing his trade in Horticulture. Leaders spent time one-on-one with their new recruits learning about their history, country and families – understanding a little of their identity as Indigenous people. The new apprentices also heard about the lives and backgrounds of the leaders and their diverse cultural backgrounds.

The program was great success as these comments show:

  • “This program is a must for all leaders”
  • “Without a doubt, I’d recommend this program. Would love for it to be longer and more involving”
  • “Good hearing stories from other Aboriginal people and seeing that others go through the same things as myself”
  • “This program is perfect the way it is, good luck boys”
  • “All leaders and new starters should undergo this training. Awesome, thankyou for the learning opportunity and allowing us to understand our staff a little”

A summary of the quantitative feedback on the program is shown below.

If you think there are teams in your business may need help getting to know each other, especially across cultural boundaries, give Mark, Sandy or Matt a call to discuss how our training could be adapted to the needs of your business.



Thank you to Dennis Kickett and Rio Tinto Iron Ore for the opportunity to work with some great people.