The 16 new apprentices, who are all from the local area, were going through their induction training.
They are employed by Federation Training and WPC Group, and will complete training in a range of fields, including mechanical and electrical, at the Longford Plants.
In addition to this apprentice intake at Longford Plants, three new apprentices have also just commenced at the Long Island Point Plant at Hastings.
These are the first new apprentices Esso has taken on since it transformed its Gippsland operations from an oil-based business to competitive gas business.
The Gippsland Times newspaper was also on hand to record the arrival of the new Longford apprentices.
Richard said he was proud of the company’s contribution to a new generation of skilled workers for Gippsland.
“I just think it’s so exciting to actually have some new young people in our organisation, as apprentices, that will bring new ideas,” he said.
“Our greatest resource is the knowledge and skills have been built up within the workforce over many decades and it continues to grow with each new generation of graduates and apprentices.”
The Gippsland Times report pointed out that there were strong connections between some of the apprentices and the Longford Plants.
Lucy McParland’s parents met after her father arrived in Sale following the Longford accident in 1998, while Nathan Henderson’s dad, Stuart, works at the Longford Heliport.
Lucy, 18, will undertake a dual electrical apprenticeship, and said she was very excited to begin working.
“Electrical interests me, I enjoy solving problems, using my hands and exercising my mind,” she said in the Times report.
“It was also great to be a woman and represent women in such a facility — I feel really proud to be a part of that, it’s important to me that women get the same opportunities, and I feel very supported.”
Nathan, 19, said he wanted to make the most of his opportunity, with a fitter and turner apprenticeship.
“It’s sort of in the family, but I’ve always had a mechanical background with cars and motorbikes at home, so it’d be good to continue on and go further in the field,” he said.
“(Dad’s) pretty proud and happy for me.”
Longford Maintenance Superintendent Jim Kristeff said having more apprentices would benefit the entire district.
“It’s important to us because from a local pool of people, when you’re trying to actually ramp up, or ramp down, the business here, Esso tends to take a lot of resources from local industries, and if we don’t have a lot more local kids being trained locally that want to stay local, it’s a really big drain on the local community there for businesses to actually grow as an area,” he said.
He said the new Federation Training campus in Sale would also encourage young people to take up trades.
“From a local training opportunity, it means a lot of our apprentices, and for other industries, don’t have to travel away, they don't have to go away for blocks of training, it makes an opportunity for an apprentice more attractive for local employers because it’s just there,” he said.