Pinjarra SHS students getting work experience at Alcoa

Pinjarra Refinery manager Julio Costa welcomes a group of Year 9 students from Pinjarra Senior High School to site.
Pinjarra Refinery manager Julio Costa welcomes a group of Year 9 students from Pinjarra Senior High School to site.

PINJARRA Senior High School students are learning about a wide range of career options at Alcoa.

About 30 Year 9 girls from Pinjarra Senior High School are participating in the new program.

Alcoa Prospects is a four-year program which starts in Year 9 and then follows the students through to Year 12.

Pinjarra Refinery manager Julio Costa said the program was specifically developed to create an interest among young women in working for Alcoa.

“Our current gender diversity statistics at Pinjarra Refinery are low; about 8 per cent of our workforce are women,” he said.

“If we are to continue to be successful and competitive in our business, then we need to have a workforce which offers a wide range of different perspectives, adding to innovation, creativity and overall productivity in the workplace.

“As a business, it is our responsibility to support all levels of education if we are to facilitate the pipeline of women working in this industry.”

Alcoa Prospects provides an opportunity for young women to see the wide range of careers available to them and then receive support from Alcoa to explore these options.

Every term, the students will be involved in an activity with Alcoa employees, which will help them on their career journey.

Last week, the students participated in a bus tour of Pinjarra Refinery and mining operations, which included visits to different work areas on site, as well as presentations from various employees.

Pinjarra Senior High School head of science learning area Clare Clayton said the program specifically targeted increasing the number of girls entering career pathways that include Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“By facilitating our students to explore the variety of careers available as an Alcoa employee, our students are more confident in making choices about their future study plans,” she said.

Traditional Science and Technology subjects such as Physics, Chemistry and Engineering are often overlooked by girls, who fail to see viable employment options.

Pinjarra Refinery is trialling the program at Pinjarra Senior High School in 2016 and 2017, and if successful will offer the program to other senior high schools in the Peel region.