Oil and gas company develops its human resources
Tarita Collard is one of a new generation of Indigenous Australians who are reaping the benefits of Western Australia's unprecedented resources boom.
The 20-year-old from Mandurah, south of Perth, is an Environmental Data Co-ordinator at Woodside Energy, Australia's largest publicly-traded oil and gas company.
Tarita says she loves her job because it is challenging and gives her the opportunity to demonstrate what can be achieved by young Indigenous Australians as well as helping to improve the living standards of Indigenous communities through her work within the company.
This has included assisting with organising Work-Ready programs for Indigenous people in the Pilbara and volunteer activities such as arranging Away Days for Indigenous staff to network with each other.
"I've really enjoyed adding value to Woodside's approach to increasing Indigenous participation," Tarita said.
"Giving something back to the community has had a great impact on me and is something I'm passionate about."
Tarita got her foot in the door at Woodside through the company's full-time Business Administration Traineeship program. The company also has a School-Based Traineeship program, which provides Indigenous students with an opportunity to begin a career in business administration.
Students participating in the School-Based Traineeship program work one day a week in Woodside's Perth office, usually over a two-year period.
While still a student at Mandurah Senior College, Tarita completed her Certificate II in Business and did so well that she won the prestigious award for School-Based Trainee of the Year 2006 WA. She was also offered a full-time Business Administration Traineeship with Woodside where she completed her Certificate III in Business in 2008.
Tarita said the traineeship was the ideal introduction to the company because it gave her a broader perspective on its operations.
"The traineeship allowed me to work in a variety of areas across the company, where I gained practical experiences and learnt more about Woodside every day," she said.
Tarita completed her traineeship in 2008 and accepted a position as an Administration Assistant in the Sustainable Development team. A year later, she was offered her current, permanent role as Environmental Data Coordinator.
The new role involves managing Woodside's Environmental Data Management System, providing performance monitoring data and reports to management, government, joint-venture partners and the public. This has led to her now looking at taking up University study as well with Woodside's support.
After her success in the program, Tarita has now been selected to interview the latest crop of applicants for Indigenous traineeships with Woodside.
"I'm really grateful that I'm doing the interviews," Tarita said. "It gives me a lot more confidence."
She also knows that after securing and holding down a job with one of Australia's most prestigious employers, there are few limits on what she can achieve with her career.
"My long-time goal is to study at university part-time and still work at Woodside," Tarita said.
"I have been really lucky to work with people who have been supportive managers, supervisors and colleagues."