Building a qualified Tiwi workforce

Building a qualified Tiwi workforce

Categories: Training, Apprenticeships

The goal of the Group Training Organisation (GTO) is to facilitate qualification of the Tiwi workforce to National Standards in sports and recreation and construction. Together with key stakeholders and employers on the Islands, we are developing an increasingly qualified and competent Tiwi workforce.

Apprenticeships in Construction

One of our ongoing challenges has been to find a way to allow contract construction companies working on Tiwi projects (such as housing) to employ Tiwi apprentices. In the past, we were limited by the requirement that employers employ the apprentice for the duration of their apprenticeship, which is up to four years. This means that apprentices had to travel away from community, often to other remote regions for extended periods, and not many would-be Tiwi apprentices were willing to be away from their family and community.

In July 2020, in partnership with DT Hobbs Pty Ltd we managed to overcome this challenge. Although DT Hobbs were eager to hold onto two young apprentices, they could not guarantee ongoing contracts on the Islands. Rather than lose the apprentices, TITEB has now directly employed the apprentices and placed them with DT Hobbs as the Host Employer. In the event that DT Hobbs is unable to continue working on the Island, TITEB will be able to place the apprentices with another construction company.


COVID-19 shutdowns have impacted trade school attendance, RTO staffing, training and travel. It has also resulted in reduced sign ups, completion and slow progress of existing traineeships, including Certificate II in Community Services and Certificate II in Business. In December 2020, two school-based trainees completed their Certificate II in Business and were offered ongoing employment at Tiwi College in 2021.

We also continued to support Tiwi College Senior Young Men’s SEDA program, with five young men successfully completing Certificate II in Sport and Recreation. The program continues to produce responsible, work-ready young men, with many successfully transitioning into employment straight out of school.

Congratulations Caine!

Congratulations to Caine Bower who completed his apprenticeship in 2021 and is now Tiwi’s own qualified automotive mechanic. Caine is an inspiration and genuine role model for what someone can achieve with a great attitude, hard work, and determination. Thanks to BIHA’s Matt Fowke, Mal Keatley and the rest of the team, and to Jason Canning at Tiwi Islands Regional Council for offering Caine this opportunity and supporting him throughout his apprenticeship.

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