LEADING individuals and organisations of Australian resources and energy industries were celebrated in Melbourne in early August.

Presented at the gala dinner of resources and energy group AMMA, the awards celebrated leadership, innovation and excellence in the sector.

The event is the industry’s annual workforce celebration which puts the spotlight on the sector’s high-achievers, in front of industry leaders and peers.

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott praised the high level of award winners across five categories covering key workforce-related areas of the industry.

He said the initiatives and programs implemented by resources and energy employers reinforced Australia’s standing as a global leader in key workforce areas.

“These are the people and organisations driving our industry to ensure a brighter future for all Australians,” he said.

Contractor Workforce Excellence award: Pilbara Resource Group

AMMA board member and Woodside chief operating officer Meg O’Neill presents the Contractor Workforce excellence award to Pilbara Resource Group director Scott Dryland.

Pilbara Resource Group has developed a range of strategies and a positive employment engagement model to deliver a high performance, safety-focussed workforce.

Working on some of Australia’s most remote project sites, the company looked outside the box on communication, upskilling and training.

This included replacing standard HR practices with initiatives that resonated with Aboriginal workers, securing a 75pc retention rate.

Workforce and Workplace Relations Innovation award: Fortescue Metals Group

Presenting the Workforce and Workplace Relations Innovation award is Paul Cooper, CEO of Mining, Asia Pacific from award sponsor Sodexo, with Fortescue People group manager Linda O’Farrell.

Fortescue identified an opportunity to offer employment to highly skilled and professional veterans to address the company’s shortage in sourcing skilled heavy diesel fitters.

The company developed the Rapid Trades Upskilling Program, a four-week course to build on the veterans’ experience, qualifying successful participants with relevant work licences.

Since the launch of the program, 82 veterans have commenced work with Fortescue as heavy diesel mechanics, increasing productivity at a retention rate of 99pc.

Health and Wellbeing award: Compass Group (Australia)

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott presents the Health and Wellbeing award to with Compass Group Australia executive director (offshore and remote) John Sheridan.

Compass Group implemented a grassroots campaign encouraging employees to talk about mental health and feel comfortable in seeking assistance if facing personal challenges.

A video message was compiled involving four employees talking about their personal battles, resulting in the ‘Got Your Back’ campaign.

At the same time a peer support program was developed within the organisation. The campaign gained traction and interest across various social media platforms, which led to the #GotYourBack hashtag being emblazoned on PPE, helping a number of employees seek and receive support for mental health.

Diversity and Inclusion award: Fortescue Metals Group.

Fortescue People group manager Linda O’Farrell receives the Diversity and Inclusion award from Stephen Halliday, external relations and public affairs head at sponsor Heathgate Resources.

Judges were impressed with the success of Fortescue’s Vocational Training and Employment Centre, which has gone from strength-to-strength, assisting Aboriginal people to now make up 13pc of the company’s Australian workforce.

The South Hedland-originated program is delivering an ongoing employment pipeline for Aboriginal people, focussing on breaking down barriers to entering the workforce and achieving their career goals.

Young Professional award: Fiona Forsyth from New Hope Group

Presenting the Young Professional award is Nathan Fay, chairman of award sponsor ExxonMobil Australia, with Fiona Forsyth from New Hope Group.

Fiona excelled in a challenging role since being seconded to Bengalla Mine as integration services advisor, following New Hope Group’s majority shareholder acquisition.

She has been a key part of integration at the site, building positive relationships and working with managers and operational teams to review and plan for a smooth transition.