Samaritan College principal, Damien Judd, and student, 13‐year‐old Grace Smallacombe, recently met His Royal Highness Prince of Wales at the launch of a new mentoring program that will promote careers in manufacturing, mining and industry.
GFG Allliance – who own the Whyalla Steelworks – are committed to nurturing a new generation of skilled manufacturing workers. At the invitation of GFG Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, Damien and Grace travelled from Whyalla to Brisbane to attend the national launch of the Industrial Cadets Program in Australia.
The Industrial Cadets Program was inspired by Prince Charles in 2010 to bridge the generational skills gap evident in the UK. It aims to partner employers with young people to develop skills and enthusiasm, recognising that industry flourishes when employers successfully support young people to enter the workplace through high‐quality workplace experiences.
The program has been overwhelmingly successful in the UK with over 1,000 students taking part and the Australian launch is a first move internationally.
Prince Charles launched the program at an event hosted by the Queensland Governor to celebrate his 70th birthday. Mr Gupta flew a team from Whyalla – the location of GFG’s main Australian mining, steel and port operations – to meet with Prince Charles. The team included the two representatives from Samaritan College.
Mr Gupta was appointed by Prince Charles as his official HRH Ambassador for Industrial Cadets in March to help launch the program in Australia and breathe new life into the future of Australian manufacturing by giving children and young people direct, structured experience of industry while still at school or college.
Whyalla Principal, Damien Judd, who attended the launch, said “What Mr Gupta has done in securing the future of Whyalla is incredible.
“The fact that he is also looking at inspiring and training the next generation of Whyalla residents through the Industrial Cadets program shows his real commitment to the future of our city.”
Local student, Grace Smallacombe, was also delighted to attend the event.
“It was a real honour to meet Prince Charles and Mr Gupta in Brisbane, and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to be mentored by local industry leaders. The cadet program will allow students to see how the steelworks runs and maybe get a job there in the future.” said Grace.
The Prince talked with Grace about Whyalla and what she might like to do after school. He also spoke with Damien about education in Australia, steel making and renewable energy.
GFG Alliance Australia is launching the program starting in Whyalla, South Australia, by initiating a partnership with local schools, including Samaritan College, to provide students high‐quality, accredited work experience whilst being mentored by industry role models. It will then be adopted across key towns and cities throughout the country where GFG has a significant presence.
“In order for Australian industry to compete in a global marketplace, we must ensure that we foster a strong and sustainable talent pipeline,” Mr Gupta said.
“Australian industry faces similar challenges to the UK with a generational gap in industrial skills. I am very confident the GFG Industrial Cadets program will be as successful here as the cadets have been in the UK.
With over a thousand students taking part in the UK, the GFG Alliance looks forward to growing the program in Australia.
Pictured from left to right are:
Grace Smallacombe, His Royal Highness Prince of Wales, GFG Executive Chairman - Sanjeev Gupta and Samaritan College principal, Damien Judd.
In the background are Queensland Governor, Paul de Jersey, and Mr Gupta's Chief Investment Officer, Jay Ambro.