Atlas setting benchmark for Indigenous engagement

Indigenous trainees are being set on long and rewarding career path as a specialist recruitment provider carves a niche in the offshore sector.

INSPIRED BY a passionate team focused on delivering employment benefits and positive community outcomes, Atlas Professionals is becoming increasingly sought after for its successful Indigenous programs.

This article originally appeared in Resoucre People | Autumn 2019 by AMMA (Australian Resources & Energy Group).

While some organisations come unstuck on engaging an Indigenous workforce, Atlas Professionals is treading a proven path.

The company is now recognised as a dependable ‘go to’ for providing a skilled indigenous workforce, providing a platform for trainees and cadets to craft a career in the marine sector.

While achieving beneficial indigenous employment outcomes can challenge employers, it’s proving a key pillar in Atlas Professionals’ business.

And with many other companies lacking the capacity or expertise to engage an indigenous workforce, they are turning to Atlas Professionals to ensure key performance indicators and contractual obligations are reached and benefits flow to Indigenous communities.

“Offshore projects have a real focus on indigenous engagement capabilities with vessel operators commonly have set KPIs from end clients regarding this, the programs Atlas Professionals have in place can greatly assist vessel operators in meeting their KPI’s” Atlas Professionals General Manager HSEQ Andrew Arscott said.

“We believe what we provide has a real point of difference from our competitors. Also, Commitment is a core value of Atlas Professionals and we believe through these programs we are showing a high degree of alignment to this value.”

Proud of the level of service it can deliver, Mr Arscott said the company is proactively showcasing its ability to deliver important outcomes to vessel operators. “We explain to the operators the great opportunity to get indigenous cadets through their sea time and experience working on a vessel,” he said.

“It is win-win for the vessel operator and the community, and most importantly it shows others in the community that regardless of their current situation, that with dedication and commitment they can make the change and achieve great things in their professional career.”

The specialist manning provider in the offshore oil and gas sector is becoming increasingly recognised as an Indigenous engagement leader, with vessel operators understanding the benefits of working with the company.

Mr Arscott said the company had already helped a number of Indigenous trainees and cadets become skilled offshore workers with invaluable experience on some of the world’s biggest offshore operations, such as the Gorgon Project. 

Advanced Standing Deck Cadet David Oxenham gained vital operational Deck Watchkeeper experience on the semi-submersible accommodation vessel POSH Arcadia, which provided accommodation for Shell’s Prelude FLNG facility located 475km north-north east of Broome, Western Australia.

At 22 years old, the Malgana man from the Yamatji Nation began his offshore career fishing at the Montebello Islands and has been working on or near the ocean ever since. 

Now he is chasing his dream to become an internationally qualified Deck Officer.

Delivering life-changing opportunities

Behind Atlas Professionals’ success is a comprehensive Indigenous engagement strategy, but Mr Arscott attributes many of the achievements to the commitment of his team, in particular Training Indigenous & Compliance Advisor Lauren Jakson.

“She has a deep passion and commitment to Indigenous engagement activities and training,” he said.

Ms Jakson has been with the company since 2012 and leads the Company’s several Indigenous Engagement Programs, delivering a multitude of upskilling opportunities.

As a fully qualified trainer and assessor, Ms Jakson works with the company’s service providers and clients to customise training and verification of competency relevant to the work scope and project. 

Her multi-faceted role has many functions within the HSEQ team, also providing an advisory service to all other departments within Atlas Professionals diverse services.

“Within the training spectrum I evaluate registered training organisation courses and the facilities to ensure that the training we place our personnel onto is a safe environment and that the training they are attending is quality,” she said.

“Training is key to ensuring our offshore personnel whom are engaged on projects have the knowledge and understanding of the job, the equipment, helicopter operations and emergency preparedness should they be assigned to these roles when offshore on facilities.”

 “I have found this has significantly reduced injury and is highly regarded as our crew feel confident with working on tasks they have had project specific training on,” she said.

“Not only does it re-assure clients that the personnel Atlas Professionals is providing have been verified as competent before attending the work at hand, it also ensures maintenance of necessary training and verification.

“Maintaining competence is vital and within my role I oversee and provide guidance to management and our clients on training matrices, equivalent competencies, legislative requirements and flag state regulations. 

“I am passionate about not only providing excellent service to our clients and internal team but also about maintaining compliance throughout a project that is engaged in Australian waters.”

But it’s her role engaging in Indigenous engagement projects, which has been most rewarding. 

“Providing sustainable career pathways for Indigenous Australians is changing the lives of many families and communities,” she said. 

“Words cannot describe how proud I am watching our trainees and cadets grow and become internationally qualified.”

This article originally appeared in Resoucre People | Autumn 2019 by AMMA (Australian Resources & Energy Group).