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Education and training pays off in the Torres Strait

To get to Horn Island off the tip of Cape York meant travelling over 4000km on four planes – one way from Tasmania. Australia is truly vast and Horn Island noticeablly warmer than the southern states!
Accompanying me on the final flight from Cairns was IQA CEO Paul Sutton and the Australian Training Alliance RTO’s CEO Justin Scripps and trainer Joe Torrents.
On arrival, Horn Island Quarry manager Edgar Daniels and Geoff Ball of the Torres Shire Council took us to the quarry, which is not far from the airport and is owned and managed by the council. 
Quarrying in this part of the world is a little different from what we are used to, with six months of wet season basically reducing or stopping the extraction of rock and sand from the quarry due to access issues from washouts/flooding and the cost of continually repairing haul roads that are gone again in the next downpour. 
Edgar and Joe showed us around the fixed crushing and screening plant with a 60 tonne per hour capacity and the mobile fleet of excavators, loaders and so on.
You could see the influence Joe has had during the training and the systems and procedures Edgar now has in place as a result. 
The IQA partnered with the Torres Shire Council, Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines and the Australian Training Alliance RTO to provide training and assessment for the Certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations (RII30112) to the 12 employees of the Torres Shire Council.
These employees didn’t use any recognised prior learning as part of the training process and all passed. A terrific effort!
The graduation ceremony was held at the Jardine Hotel on Thursday Island. At this dinner we had Mayor Pedro Stephen speak about his pride for and commitment to the graduates, to ensure they continue in their working careers at the quarry and go on to learn further skills. 
A true partnership has been made that will produce quality outcomes for the community. Mayor Stephen also spoke of how Tasmania and Thursday Island anchor the big island in between!
Certificates were then presented to each candidate by Torres Shire CEO Dalassa Yorkston, with photos and acclamation.
I reckon there are some very proud guys with framed certificates in their homes for all to see. Following our visit, it’s pleasing to hear that two of the graduates have signed up for the Diploma of Surface Operations Management and there are discussions of the Horn Island team getting involved with the IQA Young Members Network.
Again, thanks to all who were involved in this project. It was successful because of your commitment, dedication and involvement. The alternative for the Torres Shire would be no quarry, no local employment and a very high cost to barge construction materials in from Cairns.
On the ferry out next morning, I watched the loading of boxes of live mud crabs for export, and I hear the island has fantastic fishing. Maybe next time I will get to stay longer.
I also attended, as a sponsor, the IQA Victorian branch golf day on 3 March at the Sandhurst Golf Club. More than 120 eager golfers fought it out for the prizes kindly donated.
I sat on hole No. 7 and saw all sorts of talent hitting the ball in all directions, some long and others not very far at all. 
Thanks to all the sponsors of this event and those involved that put on a fantastic day, with perfect golfing weather. Special mention goes to Matt Shinners, Ryan Flack and Mark Denny who arranged a very successful day.
Until next time, stay safe!

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