At the start of 2020, Thaikeem Leedie made the big call to pack up his entire life in Ipswich and move to Chinchilla to chase his dream career. He hasn’t looked back since.
A Wakka Wakka man born in Kingaroy, Thaikeem is one of eight people to graduate from Shell’s QGC first Indigenous traineeship program, run in partnership with Harness Energy in 2020.
Thaikeem didn’t have to think for long about the move 250km west down the Warrego Highway.
“I was doing a bit of labouring at the time, and while it was a good job it wasn’t really going anywhere or expanding my career pathway, it was a bit of a big call… But I was all for it. I could see it was a great opportunity and a good change.”
Over the course of 2020, Thaikeem and his seven classmates gained qualifications like a Cert III in Workplace Health and Safety, and completed work placements with a range of businesses including Corbet’s Civil, LCR Group, MFE, MPC Kinetic, Pro-Test Solutions, RIE, Qube, Veolia Water and Pro-Crew. All eight trainees graduated from the program, and all eight participants have been successful in gaining ongoing apprenticeships and career opportunities in the local community.
Thaikeem is about to start a five-year electrical and instrumentation apprenticeship, after successfully applying for a spot in the QGC Pathways program. He’s even planning for his partner to move to join him in his new home town as he pursues his new career.
In 2021 a new cohort of Indigenous trainees will be offered the same opportunity Thaikeem received. His advice for anyone thinking about it is to grab the opportunity. Even if it means moving away from family and friends.