GFG Alliance: shoring up a pipeline of skilled talent

The GFG Alliance employs 35,000 people across 30 countries. With such a large, diverse workforce, attracting the right people with the right skills is essential. The GFG Alliance has some key programs designed to appeal to apprentices and graduates.

Pipelines Program

Since establishing its Pipelines career development program in 2019, GFG Alliance has employed more than 200 apprentices, graduates, vacation students and trainees across its LIBERTY Primary Steel Whyalla Steelworks and SIMEC Mining Iron Ore operation.

Executive general manager human resources Mark Wakelin said the Pipeline Program’s influx of new people and fresh skills was complementing GFG’s Whyalla transformation plans while providing career opportunities in South Australia. 

“As the business strategically plans for new technologies we must also invest in our people, equipping them with new skills and developing new talent,” Wakelin said. “Our fantastic Pipelines Program is introducing that new talent to our businesses and providing the opportunities for them to develop those skills with GFG while playing a key role
in an exciting future.”

GFG Alliance started the Pipelines Program with the redevelopment of the Whyalla Mining and Primary Steel operations’ apprenticeship program while the graduate and vacation student programs were also revitalised after a ten-year hiatus. 

Head of Organisational Development, Bianca Standing said the Pipeline Program had now employed 101 apprentices, 32 vacation students, 60 graduates and 24 trainees in Whyalla since its launch in 2020. 

“Our apprentice program is not only focussed on their technical trade skill, but also provides our apprentices with professional development to assist with the transition for many of them from school to working life,” Standing said. 

“Our graduate program is providing amazing employment opportunities for university students who have finished their degree or post graduate studies and are now commencing their professional careers, applying their theoretical study into an operational environment.” 

“The graduate program is a key talent pipeline for our business ensuring we continue to develop the capability we need to support our transformation journey.” 

“We are not only seeing an influx of fresh faces and new ideas, we are also seeing our future leaders joining the company,” Standing said. 

GFG Alliance has started preparations for the 2023-2024 Pipelines Program intake of vacation students, apprentices and graduates with a call for expressions of interest.

Vacation student program

The GFG Alliance Vacation Student Program continues to build momentum with 18 fresh faces introduced to the company’s Australian operations this summer. Fourteen university students participated in vacation placements at Whyalla Mining and Primary Steel. Another three students gained experience at the LIBERTY Bell Bay Manganese Smelter in Tasmania and one student at the Tahmoor Coal Operations in New South Wales. 

The vacation students were in their penultimate year of university study ranging across engineering disciplines. During their three-month vacation program, they were assigned to a relevant area of the business to apply their theoretical knowledge, gain experience in an operational setting and work on projects.

Standing said the vacation students’ arrival at the business was exciting and energised the workforce as the program demonstrates the business’s commitment to rebuilding talent pipelines and subsequently building future capability. The vacation program is a key feeder to GFG’s Pipelines Program.

“Seeing these students coming in gives the business a real lift,” Standing said. “The Vacation Student Program generates real excitement in the workplace as we see the potential progression into positions within the Graduate Program for these bright students.”   

Click here to learn more about the GFG Alliance in Whyalla.

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