Normanby trainees pass the test
‘Learning by doing’ was the mantra behind the Normanby Station machinery training project, which resulted in 11 participants receiving their Certificate 1 in earthworks machinery operation last month.
The trainees from Balnggarrawarra Normanby Rangers, Balnggarrawarra Melsonby Rangers, Hopevale Aboriginal Corporation, Juunju Daarrba Land Trust and Waarnthuurr-iin Aboriginal Corporation were given tasks around Normanby Station as part of the Reef Water Quality Normanby Basin Gully Remediation Demonstration Site Project, which is funded by Queensland Government Natural Resources Investment Program (NRIP) on Reef Water Quality 2018-2022.
During the 2021 dry season they learned new skills such as operating rollers, compactors, loaders and skid steers. Some of the more experienced participants received Certificate III in civil construction and plant operation, which included certification in additional equipment such as excavator, water truck and moxy truck.
Cape York Natural Resource Management project officer James Dobson said the hands-on work was varied and practical and had already led to new opportunities for the participants.
“This experience has provided Traditional Owners with the knowledge and skills to identify, plan and mitigate NRM erosion projects,” he said. “The training also builds the capacity of these ranger groups and corporations to repair their local roads, fix erosion on their land and deal with the clean up after disasters, such as cyclones and flooding.”
Participants repaired the Normanby airstrip and a number of tracks, filled in some gully erosion and helped build two rock chutes and bunds for an additional gully erosion site.
“Some Cert I star students were later hired by Normanby to help complete the earthworks for one of the gullies after the training had finished,” James said. “One of these star students has a job lined up in Lakeland after the wet season and even has prospects in Weipa, Townsville and Charters Towers."
James said the trainees now had the chance to take part in another course in erosion management run by Griffith University which covers the scientific background behind erosion processes, erosion prevention and mitigation strategies.
“Unfortunately the course, which was due to start in February, had to be cancelled due to the covid situation. Hopefully it is only postponed until April-May, as it will really complement the machinery training,” he said.
Andree Stephens, Communications Officer, Cape York NRM
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