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Saturday, 12 September 2015

"Try a Trade" with CSG Proponents - TAFE Queensland SkillsTech

TAFE Queensland SkillsTech delivers a number of “Try a Trade” programs aimed at highlighting trade options as a career path.  This program involves schools from the Western Downs region including Dalby, Chinchilla, Miles, Roma and Wandoan high schools.  This project is funded by the main CSG proponents of SANTOS, QGC, Origin and Arrow Energy in an effort to educate grade 10 to 12 students about CSG employment opportunities that are largely in their local area.  Recently “Try a Trade” participant’s experienced two, single day visits to local upstream CSG plant.

(c) QGC Wellhead

The first day was hosted by QGC and included a visit to Bellevue 115, a local CSG wellhead.  An experienced QGC tradesperson met us at the isolated wellhead where he explained the operation and discussed job opportunities associated with this local infrastructure. He described how it wasn’t only the boilermakers for the pipework and welding, or the dual trade E&I’s for instrument calibration and telemetry, or even the diesel fitters for the Hydraulic Pressure Units (HPU) maintenance, but included a range of other roles that were not so obvious - such as negotiating with land holders, geologists and seismic staff, scientists and lab technicians.  He explained that before any drilling started staff documented the types and locations of the flora for revegetation after the wellhead was decommissioned during the ‘make good’ phase.  He spoke about the QGC fauna staff who relocate any animals that live in the area so the environmental impact is minimised.  The students got a glimpse of the variety of jobs involved in the sector and that employment options are not always tied to ‘sandy-painted’ steel structures.
(c) QGC Bellevue Central Compressor Plant
A short bus trip later we had a guided tour of the impressive Bellevue Central Compressor Plant (CCP) with site supervisor Craig.  We looked at the ABB 800A Distributed Control System (DCS) and Siemens centrifugal compressors easily cruising at a daily rate of 190TJ’s (TeraJoules).  The ‘pigging’ launching systems drew the normal grade 10 comments. The second half of the day included a visit to Condamine power station which was in shutdown, giving the PPE clad students closer access than normal.  Whilst the QGC BBQ lunch ranked highly on the feedback forms it was surprising to see the calibre of the staff chaperoning us around these sites.  Mainly senior control room operators, leading hand tradespersons, site and plant supervisors. This was a testament to how serious QGC take this “Try a Trade” program and how committed they are to investing in these local opportunities.

SANTOS  Hub 2 Central Compressor Plant

Day 2 was an early start on the SANTOS bus to Hub 2 Central Compressor Plant. Community liaison staff (Maxine and Jamie) did an excellent job of setting the SANTOS CSG scene and confirming the safety expectations requirements for the day. Once again the plant was equally impressive and we were taken aback by the access to the control room and watching how the Emerson Delta V DCS controls the compressor systems and the telemetry back to Brisbane control room.  Rob, the plant supervisor related his own career pathway, answering any and all technical questions about the plant’s operation and the types of tasks he schedules for tradesperson, visiting contractors and engineering staff that work on his team. 

SANTOS Water Pivots
Next was a trip to see how SANTOS handle CSG water treatment for agriculture purposes.  Local students were impressed to see SANTOS ran their own 4000 head of Droughtmaster cattle.
SANTOS Unburri Camp
It was then on to Unburri Camp to see how FIFO staff live when on shift and lunch.  Of course access to the unlimited ice-cream bar ranking very highly.  On the way back to the school grounds we visited the Roma Logistic Hub to understand the roles in planning, project management and types of equipment in the laydown areas. 

SANTOS Roma Logistic Hub

By showcasing local employment opportunities
the CSG proponents endeavour to employ locally now and into the future.  Previously a large number of local students would need to travel to Brisbane to gain this type and diversity of employment opportunities and ‘that’s not good for families, or us’. 

SANTOS Laydown area
I came out to the field to help local teachers with the "Try a Trade Schools" program - I think my initial role was to help wrangle the school kids.  However, I was impressed how well the program was organised and how highly regarded the program is thought of by students, teachers and these local potential employers.

If you or your school are interested in the “Try a Trade” program, please call/email Robyn Fraser on +617 3244 0305/or
Garry Hargreaves Corporate Solutions Manager - TAFE Queensland SkillsTech
Web site:


RTO No. 0275 | CRICOS No. 03020E