Become an apprentice

Bring your A Game to Downer - become an Apprentice

Are you energetic, ambitious and keen to learn?

An apprenticeship with Downer is a great way to secure a pathway into our large and diverse workforce. You can combine paid work and training on some exciting projects, developing many of the practical skills that we require of our teams. Downer offers apprenticeships across its Rail, Mining and New Zealand businesses.

Read about some of our apprentices below.


"I wanted to earn - and learn."

"When I saw the ad on for the Apprenticeship online I knew was interested, so I got my application in and then a call back asking me to come in for an interview.

I've never done anything like this before. For me, it was either go to work or just go to study - I've never had the option of something combined.

The interview was great, it wasn't too pressured, we just had a discussion; and I felt comfortable enough that what I didn't know, I asked. It was good for me to learn more about what Downer actually does. I learned about the Downer Alliance here in Hamilton, and I got a really good scope about what actually goes on.

Honestly, before the interview I didn't appreciate that, I thought Downer pretty much just worked on roads. It has been great finding out about the rest - all the projects in water, power, infrastructure, telecommunications - everything!

It's been great just putting things together, when you see people on a job and it is like 'ohh that's what you do!' 'that's how that works.' It's been great connecting all the dots.

The main thing I am excited about is gaining this new knowledge each day, learning as I go, and knowing it leads to a proper qualification. In my other workplaces there may have been workshops, there may have been training but I never had the opportunity to get a full qualification.

If you are considering this - I say go for it. You're working, you get this qualification and so much more as well. Don't let anything stop you.

If you want to earn, and really learn at the same time, then Downer is the place to be."

Chelsea Marui-Salmon joined the Downer Apprenticeship programme in early 2017 and over the course of the next 3 – 4 years will be studying a number of qualifications which lead to a Level 4 certificate whilst working as part of the team in Hamilton, New Zealand.





Troy McCluskey wins AGA Apprentice of the Year award

Congratulations Troy McCluskey, who works on the Downer United Energy contract in Victoria for taking out the Apprenticeships Group Australia (AGA) 2016 Apprentice of the Year award.

Troy was also recognised with the Best Apprentice Award in the Automotive, Engineering and Utilities sectors. 

The AGA  judging panel were impressed with Troy’s exceptional commitment to his Apprenticeship, his passion towards becoming a fully qualified Lineworker and his dedication to safety. 

“We are very proud of all of our apprentices and their dedication to the trade and it makes it all the more special when one of our own is recognised for all of their study and effort by his trainers and peers as being the ‘Gold Medallist’,” said Mark Duckett, General Manager Networks, Victoria, Downer Utilities

“This is a fantastic achievement and we’re all very proud of Troy, and look forward to him having a long, rewarding career in Downer.” 

“The responsibility for the future success of our business lies with those who are coming through the ranks now and we see our investment in apprentices as a key pillar to this success. Our Victorian Networks business alone in 2015 has engaged more than 60 apprentices, and Troy’s recognition is also an endorsement of everyone involved in the program, including our mentors, crew leaders and trainers – well done all.” 

Congratulations Troy on your hard work and for being an inspiration to all our future trades people.

Pictured is Troy (left) with Brendan Fleming, Services Contract Manager, Downer Utilities at the awards event.

Christmas Creek trainees join industry-first apprentice program

Our Mining business has implemented a range of strategies to address the under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people in the Australian workforce. In the past financial year, this resulted in an increase in our ATSI participation rate of 10% to 4.8%; well above the current estimated industry average of 2.6%.

Recently, we formally joined with our customer FMG and its other key contracting partners in its innovative apprenticeship program, known as “Trade Up”, which will increase the number of qualified Aboriginal tradespeople in the workforce across its Pilbara sites. Trade Up is an industry first in both its scale and potential impact. 

Up to 40 Aboriginal employees will be selected annually to start a 12-month traineeship, which will provide a pathway to a four-year apprenticeship program. Four of our Christmas Creek employees have been selected for the first intake. 

The Hon. Liza Harvey MLA WA Minister for Police, Road Safety, Training and Workforce Development and Women’s Interests joined FMG Chief Executive Officer Nev Power to officially launch Trade Up.

Mr Power said: “We’re proud to be leading the way in training for guaranteed jobs for Aboriginal people. The Trade Up program will open up the lifechanging opportunity of a trade qualification for up to 40 Aboriginal employees every year.

“We particularly welcome the support and collaboration of our key contracting partners in this innovative program, which sets a new benchmark for industry-led Aboriginal apprenticeship schemes. All of the participating contractors will provide opportunities for work in a range of businesses and different trades for the successful applicants, ensuring the success of the program.”

Downer's thriving apprentice program

The investment in, and ongoing support of, apprentices is a priority for Downer and the company’s Rail apprenticeship program currently employs 75 people at various maintenance depots across the country. 

Downer’s Port Augusta depot, a centre of excellence for locomotive and component overhaul and rolling stock recovery, recently employed two plant mechanics and an electrician, all of whom are combining their employment with part-time studies at Port Augusta TAFE.

This brings the total number of apprentices at Downer’s Port Augusta depot to nine, which is positive news for the local region.

The three most recently employed apprentices – Nicholas Gaston, Martin Lees and Benjamin Hams – were put through a rigorous interview process and out-performed over 100 other job applicants to successfully secure apprenticeship placements in March.

“Downer prides itself on effective coaching programs and comprehensive on-the-job training for its apprentices, all within a Zero Harm environment,” said Steve Schofield, Group Head of Human Resources.

“Relationships creating success is Downer’s way of working and this includes not just our external customers, but also our employees and surrounding communities.

Pictured from left to right: Shane Snook, Apprenticeship Coordinator; Nicholas Gaston, Plant Mechanic; Martin Lees, Electrician; Benjamin Hams, Plant Mechanic.

View the recent article in The Transcontinental Port Augusta

Our apprentices: Tegan Smith

I started an electrical apprenticeship with Downer at the start of 2014. I have had the opportunity to work in a number of different areas within Downer including the Waratah Train Project and also within our electronic testing facility. I also made the most of an opportunity on an out-placement program working for a company called ‘New Era’.

Since working here at Downer I have been fortunate enough to have not experienced cultural setbacks or barriers solely because I am a female. I feel that nothing is holding me back.

I am constantly exposed to different and varying work experiences at Downer to help me gain my electrical licence and offer future opportunities within specific areas of the industry. I am also able to further my studies and do a diploma at TAFE.

Since I have started my apprenticeship, my experience gained has been nothing but positive and I have enjoyed every minute of it. A particular highlight was the opportunity to represent our apprentice team at Rail Careers Week in 2014. I gave a presentation on what it was like to be a part of Downer’s in house apprenticeship program to a classroom of TAFE students in Sydney’s south-west.

Izabella scoops industry awards

Second year electrical apprentice Izabella Wielga has capped off an amazing year winning the prestigious EPIC ITB Outstanding Apprentice 2015 Award. 

Recognising Izabella’s academic excellence in the first year of her apprenticeship, this national award is the icing on the cake for Izabella having already won the regional  for Victoria and Tasmania.

Currently working onsite at the Monash Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Izabella is a highly valued apprentice.
said David Colasante, EGM Commercial Contracting, EC&M. 

For Izabella these awards represent the pinnacle of her chosen field. EPIC ITB is the Electrotechnology, Printing, IT and Communications Industry Training Board and NECA is the National Electrical and Communications Association which is the peak industry body that represents the best interests of the electrical and communications contracting industry in Australia.

As part of the EPIC ITB Award Izabella received $500 cash as well tools and equipment.

Congratulations Izabella on your outstanding achievements!

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