David Lemalu, Nyarla Johnson and Amy Varker are preparing for their new careers in the gas industry while they complete their two-year LNG Process Operator traineeships.
David Lemalu, Nyarla Johnson and Amy Varker are preparing for their new careers in the gas industry while they complete their two-year LNG Process Operator traineeships. Paul Braven GLA010317TRAINEE

Gladstone cop beats 950 applicants for exciting LNG job

A FORMER cop and a travel agent are two of 10 locals chosen out of almost 1000 applications for a lucrative paid gas traineeship.

David Lemalu and Amy Varker both celebrated the start of their two-year LNG process operator traineeship, which helps give Gladstone people without experience in the LNG industry, a foot in the door.

The program, coordinated by Energy Apprenticeships Group (EAG), attracted 961 applications for the second round of traineeships.

David, a police officer of 16 years, said he moved to Gladstone five years ago with the intention to work in industry.

But without any previous experience, he was "waiting for the right opportunity".

"I'm still pinching myself since being told I was exactly what they were looking for out of all of the applicants," he said.

"I met some of the others along the way and there were a few insecurities, I was up against engineers and other people who already had experience in industry."

Amy, a born and bred local, has worked in the travel industry since she finished high school in 2010.

Amy, David and the other eight trainees will study at Central Queensland University and gain practical, first-hand experience at QGC and Australia Pacific LNG downstream operator ConocoPhillips' facilities. The two LNG companies are jointly funding and supporting the program.

"I had some experience doing ground operations with QantasLink at the Gladstone Airport and ever since then I've wanted to do something a little bit more hands on," she said.

"During the boom time in Gladstone I didn't apply for any of the jobs because I didn't think I would make it through without experience.

"I couldn't believe it when I found out I was successful for this traineeship."

Nyarla Johnson spent time with the 10 trainees yesterday, sharing with them her experience in the past year.

She's now in her second year of the traineeship where she'll focus on practical studies.

"The highlight so far has been our trip to Perth where we worked on a small scale gas and water plant," she said.

Once she graduates, Nyarla hopes to find a job in the oil and gas industry. She said she had been looking into overseas opportunities.

The trainees were chosen after a three-month recruitment process.



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