Thirty-four new apprentices have started on the tools at Wilmar Sugar’s Queensland mills and bioethanol distillery.

The new recruits kicked off their trade training with a two-week Safe Start program in December before beginning work at their respective sites.

Seventeen of the first-year apprentices are based in the Burdekin region, where Wilmar owns four sugar mills. Eight are based at Wilmar’s two Herbert mills, four at Proserpine Mill, four at Plane Creek Mill and one at the Sarina BioEthanol Distillery.

Wilmar Sugar Training Superintendent Daniel Shipard said six of the new recruits were women and nine were existing Wilmar employees who had taken the opportunity to upskill by learning a trade.

“We offer apprenticeships in the fabricating, fitting and turning, diesel fitting and electrical trades,” Mr Shipard said.

“Our apprentices are well supported throughout their training and we’re proud to turn out well-trained and well-rounded tradespeople with a strong focus on safety.”

Plane Creek diesel fitting apprentice Riley Steindl said he chose to do his apprenticeship through Wilmar as he was passionate about the sugar industry.

“I like the hands-on learning, and I am really interested in working on heavy machinery, like locos,” he said.

Burdekin fitting and turning apprentice Jorja Grabs said she was excited to learn about the different machinery she would be working on.

“I already feel that working at Wilmar will give me the opportunity to be the best fitter and turner I can be, both throughout my apprenticeship and when I am trade qualified.”

Wilmar Sugar is one of North Queensland’s largest apprenticeship providers, with about 130 apprentices employed at any one time. The program boasts a completion rate of 98 per cent, making it one of the most successful in Australia.

Wilmar is employing a total of 49 first-year apprentices for its 2023 intake.

Some positions are currently open for the fitting and turning, fabricating and electrical trades. Find out more here.