Apprentice Jono at the Talison Greenbushes Lithium Operation. Talison is the world’s leading lithium minerals concentrate producer and plays a key role in supplying the lithium needed to help power the global energy transition.
Jonathon was destined to become a mechanical fitter.
From a young age he would get into strife at home for dismantling things so he could find out how they worked, often leaving them in pieces much to the dismay of his parents.
Electronics, lawns mowers, motors – it seemed nothing around the house was safe from his enquiring mind.
“I used to get into all sorts (of trouble) for ripping things apart. I just wanted to know how they worked,” he said.
Fast forward a decade or so and Jonathon, now 22, is excelling in his final year as an apprentice mechanical fitter at the Talison Lithium mine site in Greenbushes, Southwestern, WA.
He says he’s loved every minute of it and encourages anyone to consider a trade.
“Everyone else in my family had been to uni and got degrees but I’ve always liked working on things. As a kid I was always into Lego.”
‘Jono, as he is known to his workmates, did a Pre-Apprenticeship at TAFE after leaving school, winning Pre-Apprentice of the Year for the campus. That led to a work placement to get some hands-on experience and ultimately the offer of an apprenticeship, which he has loved every step of along the way.
“We work on all sorts of things … industrial sized crushers, pumps, conveyors and my favourite, working on the big cone crushers,” he said.
“Our company is awesome at training apprentices. They get us right into the big jobs almost straight away instead of just watching … it’s unreal.”
Jono is excited about the trade and his future. While he sees that he may someday ‘head north’, the real reward will be expanding his skills base.
Ultimately though, he says he would like to end up back home again, passing on the skills he’s learned to the next wave of apprentices.
And maybe get back to fixing a few things around the place that he once tore apart.