"An internship is a rocket ship to a very different future." - CareerTrackers Founder, Michael Combs

Not only was it a great excuse to dress up, but this year's CareerTrackers Annual Gala Awards dinner was a chance for the team at Rig and Well Services in Toowoomba to recognise their support and passion for this program.

On Thursday 11 February, the Toowoomba Rig and Well Services team gathered in the boardroom to watch the CareerTrackers Annual Gala Awards online.

Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander excellence

This prestigious event brings together the community of interns, Alumni, universities and employers to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander acheivement.

This event is usually a formal event held in Sydney with an audience of 1,500, but there was no less excitement in the room in Toowoomba as employees and CareerTrackers alumni joined to celebrate the success of the 2020 cohort.

CareerTrackers was formed in 2009 with the goal of creating pathways and support systems for young Indigenous adults - to attend and graduate from university with high marks, industry experience and bright professional futures.

Ventia's proud partnership with CareerTrackers over the past 10 years has helped bring interns like Rory Fortune into the organisation.

Interns like Rory would usually get the opportunity to attend the live gala, so Marco and the team decided they'd make the night special for him.

Rory is a proud Kullilla/Takalak man and the second intern to work on level 7 in Toowoomba with the Rig and Well Services Camp Management (ECM) team. Rory is also studying Human Services at University of Southern Queensland and combines his work with ECM and his studies.

The mutually rewarding employment has been "phenomenal" according to Rory.

"Working with a close-knit team at ECM makes it easy to put my university studies into practice and perspective," Rory says.

"No longer just theories, I am putting my learning into real time human services solutions for ECM.  I am working on an onboarding project which I called 'Project River'.  It follows new starters as they travel from their first hitch and further downstream, gaining experience and asking them to identifying any hiccups along the way."

Rory's program is an automated "check in" that will flag to contract managers the need to contact a new starter when something is not quite right.

"Technology is efficient and productive but, in the end, a human voice is what really matters," Rory explains. "It reinforces positive communication and support."


Endless opportunities. Huge impact.

Rory has plans to bring this process to life in an application, to link it to the already successful pre-hitch application forming a comprehensive human resources management procedure.

Other members of the team who attended the night were impressed with the event and proud to be associated with such a worthwhile organisation and program.

Kelly Gardner, Catering Support Officer said, "What a fantastic organisation to provide such support and mentoring to its students. The stats and testimonies say it all really."

Contract Manager Luke Webb grew up in a remote Torres Strait Islander community and says that Indigenous culture holds a very important place in his life as it was a big part of his upbringing.

"I'm proud to be part of an organisation that supports the careers and dreams of First Nations people in a professional environment," Luke says. "The incredible journeys and stories of the interns is inspiring. It's very important we hear these stories so we can further our journey on diversity and inclusion in the workplace."

The passion and commitment to supporting Indigenous engagement at Rig and Well Services of General Manager Camp Management and Village Services Marco Waanders is plain to see at events like this.

Marco says he is proud to be a supporter of the Career Tracker program and to see interns like Rory thrive in the workplace.


"Our involvement over the past four years has been something I've really enjoyed, particularly because it provides interns with real work opportunities on the job skills that will enhance what they are studying and help them complete their degrees."

For more information on CareerTrackers and Ventia, visit our website here.