Words: Mick Riddle
Photos: Mick Riddle
June 15th, 2012
CONNECTING WITH LEIGHTON CONTRACTORS
The Macarthur Wind Farm Project, approximately 60km northwest of Warrnambool, provided the Warrnambool Clontarf boys with a memorable experience.
On Friday June 1, the boys travelled to the wind farm with three goals in mind. The first was to connect, once again, with our valued partners in Leighton Contractors.
Secondly, discover the various pathways of employment that are offered through Leighton and lastly to gain an insight into the wind farm and its benefits to the community.
As we drew closer to the site the boys’ interest really started to rise at the sheer enormity of the turbines. We were greeted by Leighton’s Health and Safety officer, Stephen McBroome and Ben Gibson the Structures Manager.
We were also fortunate to be welcomed by the effervescent Joan Bulpit, Leighton’s Community Relations Manager whom the boys have already met and developed a fantastic relationship with.
The site excursion involved the boys in two vehicles, being escorted around the wind farm by Stephen and Ben providing the boys with a detailed breakdown of the project. The construction started in August 2010 and plans to be completed and operational by 2013. During construction time there has been a workforce of personnel between 200 and 300 workers. The boys learnt that the project consists of 140 turbines.
Each turbine extends to an overall height of 140m reaching the end of the blade. The project is the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere and upon completion will generate enough clean, green energy to power the equivalent of 220,000 average Victorian households per year. What the boys really appreciated was being able to get up close and personal to the turbines, especially the blades which were on the ground awaiting construction.
Once back at the main office the boys were provided with a valuable insight into the pathways to employment through Leighton. The boys were introduced to Louie Lobosco, Site Foreman in Concreting and Tony Gee, Site Foreman in Form Work. These two gentlemen provided an extremely powerful session for the Warrnambool boys with their candid experiences.
Both Louie and Tom left school early and have been able to forge themselves successful career paths. Louie stressed to the boys, “If I had my time again I would definitely stay at school longer. I left in Form 8 and really couldn’t read and write correctly. I have had to put myself through night school to complete some courses. If I had one piece of advice, stay at school boys for as long as you can!”
The Warrnambool Academy boys came away from the experience with a real sense of what Leighton stands for and embodies and the opportunities it presents.
On the journey home the boys participated in a quiz to ascertain their recall of knowledge, to which they excelled, reflecting the success of the experience. Our extended thanks must go to all involved at Leighton, especially Stephen McBroome and Ben Gibson.
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