Despite an increasingly tough local manufacturing environment, the Mobil Altona Refinery has not only survived, it has emerged as a thriving business and major supplier of fuel for Australia, with an exciting future.
“A number of factors, including global crude oil markets, past investment decisions, new technology and excellence in engineering and operations have combined to uniquely position Altona Refinery as a thriving business that continues to defy Australia’s tough manufacturing environment,” said Altona Refinery Manager, Riccardo Cavallo.
“As a result, we have been able to offer employment to a couple of experienced and highly skilled operators who found themselves without a job when the Ford factory closed.
“Skills are critically important for a highly technical industry like ours. We work hard to ensure that the skills of our workforce remain world-class.”
Like most businesses in Australia, Altona Refinery is also facing the challenges that come with an aging workforce.
Since 2007 the refinery has implemented an Operator Traineeship program which is a key part of its strategy for sustaining a top-class operator workforce into the future. The trainees often bring with them a wealth of experience and skills from a diverse range of backgrounds, including various trades, technical and administrative roles.
“These new experienced operators, along with our growing pool of trainee operators, will play a crucial role in sustaining Altona Refinery’s strong operating performance, as we continue to pursue growth and improvement opportunities into the future,” said Riccardo.
Grant Corkill was a mechanic for 17 years before applying for a position as a trainee at the refinery. He was at the top of his game in his field, but he wanted a job with career progression.
“Being a trainee at the refinery is everything I expected and more,” he said. “One thing I noticed is how helpful everyone is. As a trainee I feel the company has embraced me, and people stop and chat and are happy to share experiences and offer guidance.”
The experience was similar for Aidan Boland, who work for eight years as a plumber before joining the refinery.
“One thing that has stood out is the knowledge of the people working at Altona,” he said. “The people who have taken us around on the field walks are the best in their field. And they are extremely helpful.
“I also realise the gravity and responsibility of some of the tasks we will perform and why safety is of paramount importance at the refinery. Things are never rushed. It is all about doing it right, safely and not rushing to do anything.”
Mobil Altona Refinery makes a significant contribution to employment in Hobsons Bay, providing jobs for around 350 people and indirectly supporting thousands of other jobs in the community.