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Many Aboriginal Territorians will have the chance of a better life following a training and employment agreement between the Santos-operated Darwin LNG joint venture and a major mechanical company.

The multimillion-dollar program is part of the resources company’s proven commitment to combating Indigenous disadvantage.

Darwin LNG is providing $3 million to fund KAEFER Integrated Services delivering the innovative program from early this year.

KAEFER provides scaffolding, mechanical and fabric maintenance services for the gas plant.

The program, which will be delivered at Darwin LNG and KAEFER sites, is part of Santos’ enduring commitment to the Territory – after all, the NT in Santos stands for Northern Territory.

Darwin LNG and KAEFER will support the new Aboriginal jobs program with high-quality recruitment and mentoring services to help overcome social, economic and other barriers often faced by Indigenous people entering training, education and employment.

This will include supporting them through the recruitment process and providing support with financial management and other services to help them succeed in training and in the workforce.

The program will provide opportunities for Aboriginal people to be trained by KAEFER in:

• Tertiary mechanical engineering and human resources

• Trade apprenticeships in welding, boiler making, painting and blasting

• Certificate III Basic Scaffolding Cadetships

• Certificate III Admin/HSE

• Certificate IV Accounting/Book-keeping

• Certificate IV HSE Adviser Traineeships

The program will have an expected initial intake of 10 scaffolding cadets, one Cert III trainee and one apprentice. Twenty-six positions are anticipated to be offered over the four years of the program.

More information for Aboriginal people interested in the program will be widely advertised in the Territory soon.

Construction of Darwin LNG started in 2003 and the first cargo from the Bayu-Undan gas field was shipped out in 2006.

It has created about 180 permanent local jobs during operation. Santos is investing $925 million to switch the gas supply from Bayu-Undan to the Barossa field. The conversion will create about 300 construction and maintenance jobs and dozens of subcontracts for Territory businesses, many of them family owned firms, over about 18 months.

Santos Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Kevin Gallagher says Darwin LNG has been part of the Territory’s economy and communities for 20 years – and it will be revitalised with the new gas supply from Barossa, which will keep it going for another 20 years.

“Santos and the Darwin LNG joint venture partners are committed to real action to help close the gap on Aboriginal disadvantage in the Northern Territory,” he says.

“Training, education and good jobs are a universal foundation for human flourishing. They are the building blocks for individual social and economic empowerment, and just as importantly, for stronger, more resilient families and communities.”

KAEFER Chief Operating Officer Trent Northover is delighted with the new training and employment program.

“KAEFER is committed to investing in our people – from grassroots level through to long-term employees. We are very thankful for the opportunity to work alongside Santos and Darwin LNG on this program, which strongly aligns with our Reconciliation Action Plan commitments.

“This program will provide Aboriginal Territorians with structured pathways that will lead to meaningful, sustainable employment.

“Our established facilities, long-term presence in Darwin and close working relationship with Santos and Darwin LNG will provide the ideal platform for this.”

Santos is to open a shopfront in Darwin early this year.

Peter Kirkpatrick, the Santos Barossa project manager, is a Territorian.

“I have lived in the Top End for close to 25 years, so it is very rewarding to see the benefits of our operations flow through to the local community,” he says.

“We have created new jobs to open a shopfront in the Darwin CBD, which complements our operations at DLNG, further establishes our commitment to the Territory business community and further embeds Santos within the social fabric of the Top End.”

Mr Kirpatrick says upskilling workers and taking on apprentices, some of them mature age, has been a “great success”.

“We’ve created lots of jobs and helped improve local capacity,” he says.

He says Darwin LNG continues to have a “strong commitment” to engaging with First Nations people.