Leadership is crucial to any business and Colin Savo is proving to be a key member of Rio Tinto’s Weipa team.
Colin first caught the attention of Rio Tinto in 2017 when he joined the Rio Tinto and Sodexo-partnered Fit For Work program as a mentor.
His success in motivating and influencing new starters under the program, particularly local Aboriginal trainee applicants, was producing great results.
Rio Tinto Weipa Indigenous Employment and Liaison coordinator Kathy Pablo said: “During his time as a mentor, Colin provided encouragement to participants to stick the program out, inspiring them to push on when things got tough and sharing his knowledge and experience to encourage them to reach their goals.”
“Some of our locals enter the program and feel like they can’t do this or can’t see what’s at the end; but, every day, Colin kept coming to work, doing what was expected of him and rallying the younger ones to keep them motivated.
“He’s great at explaining why Rio Tinto operates the way it does and he brings in what he’s learned along the way so it makes sense.”
It wasn’t long before Colin was tapped on the shoulder to take part in Rio Tinto’s own work readiness program, Kinnection, which aims to help local Indigenous people develop the skills and knowledge to take on full time roles in the business.
Starting as a participant in the program in 2018, Colin had the opportunity to learn many skills working with the Land and Rehab team.
During the program, he was involved in activities such as boundary burns, dozer clearing works, tree planting, gamba grass spraying, weed spraying and boudary chainsawing works.
Colin also helped clear vital tracks throughout the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.
He said he got along well with the land and rehabilitation crews and thoroughly enjoyed working with the people in the team.
“Coming into the program, I was looking forward to working with the land and rehab team and doing something different,” Colin said.
“I have developed some good relationships with the crew over the last three years and have experienced a lot of things I hadn’t done before. I was really satisfied with the work I was doing.”
After completing the Kinnection program in January, Colin is now a permanent member of the Land and Sea team.
Based in Napranum, Colin will commute to Amrun on a rostered basis and continue his work with land and sea management, including taking part in the vital turtle monitoring and survey works at Amrun.
When asked how he felt about completing the program, Colin said, “I’m pretty excited that I’ve achieved something that I set out to do.”
He thanked Kathy Pablo and Rio Tinto Weipa’s Indigenous Employment and Development officer Tonia May for helping him out when he was looking for something more fulfilling to do.
Colin’s advice to anyone who is looking to get into a role with Rio Tinto Weipa is to, “give it your best shot and aim for the position you want to achieve”.
This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 22 February 2021.