Featured News Students learn ‘on the job’ at Glencore

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Wed, 13 Jul 2016

Students learn ‘on the job’ at Glencore


James Cook University IT students are gaining hands-on work experience at one of Australia’s largest mining companies.

Pictured above: Adrian Lapico (right), JCU student and Glencore contractor is assisted by Thomas Pennington, Acting Supervisor Service Delivery

The new initiative is a partnership between JCU’s Information Technology Academy (IT@JCU) and Glencore’s Copper and Zinc operations based in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The project, which started at the end of 2015, allows undergraduate IT students to gain real world experience in their chosen field by working for Glencore’s Information Systems and Technology Service Desk around their study commitments.

It is designed to give IT students, who are based at Glencore’s Copper Refinery in Townsville refinery, the opportunity to get a head start on their careers.

JCU’s College of Business, Law and Governance, where IT@JCU is housed, and Glencore will work together across all aspects of the partnership, including the initial recruitment through to managing student employment conditions.

Chrystie Watson, Manager of College Operations for the College of Business, Law and Governance, said the College actively works with industry stakeholders to ensure the student university experience at JCU is industry relevant.

“The partnership with Glencore is an example of industry and university combining their strengths to ensure students are introduced to the working environments of their chosen career,” she said.

The initiative is underway, with 10 students who started working with Glencore in March.

Student Jeffrey Pattison said the placement is enabling him to successfully transition into the IT industry while still studying.

“Being able to put what you've learnt at university to use helps solidify the knowledge in your mind, and lets you see that the lessons being taught are relevant,” he said.

“The sheer size of Glencore’s IT network means I have already been exposed to more programs and features than I could have just about anywhere else in Townsville. Being able to stay on with Glencore after study would be amazing, but this opportunity to gain industry experience is enough on its own.”

Associate Professor Trina Myers, Head of the JCU Information Technology Academy said the initiative helps the students’ transition into employment and future employers benefit from having graduate applicants with the ability to apply their knowledge to the workplace.

Trevor Gray, General Manager Central Services for Glencore’s north Queensland operations said the partnership has been designed to effectively support a specific skill requirement within the business, while also ensuring the best possible outcome for the students involved.

“It presents a valuable opportunity to identify and support the development of future skilled IT professionals, with potential for future employment at our operations through our Glencore Graduate Program,” he said.

Ms Watson said partnerships like this, allowing students to work in their chosen field while still prioritising their study commitments, are an invaluable exercise in enriching the learning experience, providing students with a competitive edge when they officially enter the fulltime workforce.

“JCU is pleased to be working with Glencore on this initiative and is excited to explore further opportunities to leverage study-work partnerships across other disciplines in the future,” she said.

  • JCU: Associate Professor Trina Myers (07) 4781 6908 or 0412 955 977

  • Glencore: (and for student contact details) Michelle Pearce, Community Relations Advisor, tel: (07) 4744 2912 or 0407 766 937