Whyalla "Test Pilots" join program


HERE'S CHEERS: Whyalla's 16 Test Pilots for the GFG Foundation program with General Manager of the GFG Foundation Georgina Crumpton, GFG Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta, South Australian Governor the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC and Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin. Picture: Whyalla News

Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin has thanked Sanjeev Gupta and wife Nicola following the launch of their GFG Foundation program in Whyalla.

Mayor McLaughlin was speaking after the GFG Alliance Executive Chairman presented the program with the first 16 “Test Pilots” … young Whyalla students who have been enrolled in the inaugural program.

The GFG Foundation program is a year-long project where high school students will gain an insight into the steelmaking and mining industries and the opportunities they present through work experience and mentoring from key role models in GFG’s Whyalla operations.

After speaking at the launch, attended by South Australian Governor the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Mayor McLaughlin said the concept of local steelworks people mentoring local youth in our biggest local industry was a real positive for the Whyalla community.


KEY SPEAKER: Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin at the GFG Foundation launch. Picture: Whyalla News

She said the excitement of the test pilots involved in the program’s first intake illustrated how valuable the GFG Foundation program would be for young people, their families and the community.

“It is a fantastic initiative and something the young people and community have really embraced,” Mayor McLaughlin said.

“You just had to see the excitement on the faces of these young people as they were presented to the community in the presence of Mr Gupta and the Governor of South Australia.

“Not only are these young students receiving an invaluable insight into our biggest industry, they are doing it with the guidance of local people already involved in the operation.

“Regardless of whether these young people end up entering the industry, it is giving them a taste of what is available and providing them with some valuable experience and life skills in whatever path they choose when it comes to their working life.”

The foundation was first established as a UK charity in 2016 by Mr and Mrs Gupta. Although leveraging off of the Industrial Cadets program – a UK initiative inspired by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and of which Mr Gupta is an ambassador – GFG Alliance says this new program will be unique to the needs of the communities in which it operates.


COMMUNITY MINDED: Sanjeev Gupta speaks at the GFG Foundation launch. Picture: Coureny Hewett Photography

Mr Gupta said the program would be the start of an “exciting, rewarding and ongoing relationship” between his family foundation and the youth of Whyalla.

“Coming from a family of industrialists, while growing up I had the opportunity to spend time in steel works and engineering plants,” he said.

“That left a lasting impression on me and really inspired me to pursue an active career in industry, so I see the GFG Foundation providing a similar experience for these young people and am very excited about its promise in Australia.” 

“It is a fantastic initiative and something the young people and community have really embraced,” Mayor McLaughlin.

Mr Gupta said that the key to GFG’s ambitions of reinvigorating the local manufacturing industry in Australia, is ensuring Australia’s next generation has the motivation and skills to enable the nation to be competitive and successful on the world stage.

“In starting this program in Whyalla as a test market, these first 16 test pilots are all intrinsic to its future success and I thank them very much for playing that role with such commitment and enthusiasm,” he said.

“I very much look forward to seeing these fine young people develop their knowledge, life skills and confidence as the program progresses, so they can eventually become future leaders in this great Whyalla community.”

As well as GFG’s operations, the test pilots will also have access to numerous UniSA facilities and workshops, and learn about the various opportunities the campus offers.

Mr Gupta said this first program would serve as a test case, enabling GFG to roll out more ambitious and expanded programs across Australia from next year.

“We are taking the best of the Industrial Cadets program and combining it with an energy and optimism that is wholly Australian, and what better place to capture this spirit than Whyalla,” Mr Gupta said.


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