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Wilmar Sugar Australia welcomed 21 new apprentices to its Burdekin and Herbert mills this week.

The group comprises 14 Burdekin and seven Herbert apprentices across the electrical, fitting and turning, boilermaking and diesel fitting trades.

First-year electrical apprentice Olivia Biviano will be based at Victoria Mill in the Herbert, and said work experience during high school had sparked her interest in the career.

“I decided I wanted to do something really hands on and challenge myself, and I decided to do this at Wilmar to be in a welcoming and safe environment,” Ms Biviano said.

Burdekin-based electrical apprentice Sarah Di Guglielmo said she had been working towards her goal of securing an apprenticeship throughout high school and was excited to start work at Wilmar’s Kalamia Mill.

“I’m looking forward to working alongside qualified tradespeople and engineers on major projects, and being able to learn from some of the best in the industry,” Ms Di Guglielmo said.

Wilmar Training Superintendent Daniel Shipard said 25 first-year apprentices had joined the company as part of its 2021 intake, including seven in the Herbert and four in the Mackay region.

“I’m certainly excited about the new apprentices coming on board, and am looking forward to watching them grow over the course of their four-year apprenticeship,” Mr Shipard said.

“Our Herbert and Burdekin apprentices have just completed a two-week safe start course at the Burdekin TAFE facility, and officially started working at their respective mill sites this week, while our Mackay region apprentices commenced late last year.

“We were able to take part in a video call with the Honourable Di Farmer, the Queensland Minister for Training and Skills Development, on the last day of our safe start training in the Burdekin. It was a great opportunity for our apprentices to share with the Minister why they chose the trade training path, and goals for the future.”

Wilmar has created more than 300 new apprenticeship positions since buying Sucrogen in 2011.