New partnership will narrow the gap in employment opportunities

Vivid Logo

The JT Academy is proud to announce it has teamed up with commercial cleaning company Vivid Property Services to offer employment opportunities through the JTEmployIndigenous program.

Founded in 2007 by Managing Director Scott Agnew, Vivid Property Services puts more than 2000 vetted, well-trained, quality-controlled commercial cleaners into airports, government facilities, educational institutions and the secure offices of some of Australia’s most prestigious companies every day.

Vivid CEO Peter Watson said the company had been impressed by the JT Academy’s focus on “narrowing the gap in employment opportunities” and what it offered back to the community.

“It is quite unique in terms of its approach to the programs it runs, targeting teenagers and young adults,” Mr Watson said.

“We support a number of organisations that operate in that space, including surf life saving, and that community service element is something we look for in a partner.

Johnathan Thurston is a role model in the community and both the academy and JT’s personal brand are a perfect fit with Vivid and our sister company, Vivid Indigenous Services.

“We have a national footprint and recruit employees in regional, rural and remote areas, so working closely with the JT Academy will help give us a greater voice and a profile in this very important employment space.”

Mr Watson said Vivid Property Services had a strong focus on making a difference in peoples’ lives, including providing sponsorship and support such as it did for an Indigenous soccer team that competed in the 2019 national titles.

Former Brisbane Roar player Jade North – one of the first Indigenous men to play soccer for Australia – will be working closely with the JT Academy in his role as Vivid’s Client Relationship Manager.

“Jade is making his transition from professional sport into a business career and working with a guy like JT they will be fantastic role models and able to make a meaningful impact for so many young people,” Mr Watson said.

“We like to think we are putting our money where our mouth is in helping to make a difference and our partnership with the JT Academy will prove to be mutually beneficial.”

JT Academy General Manager Samantha Johnson welcomed the partnership with Vivid as another vital part of being able to develop and delivering high-quality programs that equipped young jobseekers with the right skills, knowledge, and attributes to make a significant and positive future impact.

“Through strong partnerships with employers such as Vivid, we are committed to supporting individuals to reach personal, educational, and career goals,” she said.

“It’s about installing the confidence in young Australians that there are opportunities out there and there are people and companies who want to make a solid commitment.”

Academy Managing Director Johnathan Thurston also welcomed the partnership.

“By joining forces with like-minded organisations such as Vivid, we are supporting our nation’s youth and growing their skills helps to build their confidence and unleash their full potential,” he said.

“The JT Academy programs aim to empower individuals with confidence, courage, self-belief and incorporate wellbeing and mental health conversations in all our programs.”

Johnathan Thurston’s academy connecting with the community of Kalgoorlie

JT Women Employemnt

The team from Johnathan Thurston Academy will be visiting Kalgoorlie this month (March) as part of a community program sponsored by Evolution Mining

JT Academy team will spend a week in Kalgoorlie from March 16-20, to work with young residents through an innovative community program focussed around self-belief, courage, confidence and employment opportunities. 

Johnathan Thurston launched the academy in February 2018 to help improve access to employment and educational opportunities.

Now the JT Academy is fast becoming a leading national provider of outstanding employment initiatives and community programs aimed at employment, education and wellbeing.

The week-long program will involve participants in our JTSucceed workshop. They will also be taken on a tour of our sponsor Evolution Mining Mungari site. 

The JT Academy expect program participants will get a lot from the experience.

The week aims to build more self-belief, courage and confidence in participants and get them excited about future employment opportunities within their community.

For details on the event go to 



JT Academy becoming a leading provider of employment initiatives

Jobs Board 2020

The Johnathan Thurston Academy is fast becoming a leading provider of outstanding employment initiatives and one of our key platforms in that is the JTJobBoard.

This free service for all jobseekers and employers is part of a unique platform that connects jobseekers to all our employment partners in communities throughout the nation.

And in an age when systems and processes seem designed to make things more complicated for jobseekers, the JTJobBoard couldn’t be easier.

With just a few clicks of a mouse, jobseekers can explore a range of positions with employers such as Lendlease, Evolution Mining and Accor, to name a few. They can find all the details about a position and even apply directly through the website if it interests them.

A simple search field enables jobseekers to narrow down their job searches by location and work type and they can even see what positions are trending.

By registering for JTHotJobs, they will receive regular alerts on positions that have become available.

The JT Academy team is dedicated to working with companies, organisations and industries to provide stronger, more diversified economies by generating quality job opportunities that attract and retain a skilled and diverse workforce.

We work together with our clients and partners to drive employment outcomes, acting as a destination for jobseekers and employers.

And hand-in-hand with the JTJobBoard, we provide high-quality programs that equip participants with the right skills, knowledge and attributes to make a significant and positive future impact.

Through strong partnerships and initiatives such as the JTJobBoard, we are committed to supporting individuals to reach personal, educational and career goals.

JTAcademy throws support behind women in mining

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We have all heard that old and outdated expression that diamonds are a girl’s best friend; Australia’s Gold Industry Group (GIG) would like to change that to gold is the land of opportunity for women where they are finding work, long-term careers and chances to thrive professionally.

For the first time this year, the GIG’s annual Women in Gold Great Diversity Debate was taken to Sydney and Melbourne, expanding its footprint from Perth and allowing more industry participants to have their say.  The tour proved to be inspiring and engaging as gold industry professionals explored the thought-provoking topic: “a diversity debate that begins and ends with gender is doomed to fail”.

The Sydney event held on November 14 was proudly sponsored by key Johnathan Thurston Academy Employment Partner, Evolution Mining.  Lawrie Conway, Evolution Mining Finance Director and Chief Financial Officer was Master of Ceremonies and GIG Vice Chair and Gold Fields VP Legal and Compliance Kelly Carter adjudicated the debate which featured a diverse line up of speakers representing the gold industry.

“It was incredible to be a part of an event which was designed with the sole purpose of shining the focus on women in the gold sector and the value of the contribution they can make,” JTAcademy General Manager Samantha Johnson, who attended the debate, explained.

“At the JT Academy, we happily embrace opportunities which help us to breakdown stereotypes and other barriers to entry for women in the gold mining sector.

“Attending the debate as a representative of the JT Academy allowed us to make some important connections and let industry know we are here and happy to help them achieve diversity targets, regardless of what form they take.”

Charmaine Saltner, Evolution Mining Group Community Relations Advisor, explained the company happily embraced the chance to sponsor the event.

“This is the first year we have had the opportunity to support this event in Sydney and our Chief Operating Officer, Bob Fulker was asked to be involved in the debate,” she said.

“He immediately recognised this as an important opportunity to explain ways in which women can contribute and, as it turns out, they are pretty much the same ways men can.

“There is no reasonable or acceptable reason for women to be under-represented in Australia’s mining sector. Anything we can do as a sector and society to help women get jobs and opportunities in this sector is something we are happy to be involved with and encourage others to do the same.”

To see more about our partnership with Evolution Mining and the opportunities they are offering, visit the website.

Key tips on how to get your foot in the door with Australia’s leading employers


Getting in to work with some of Australia’s largest employers can be a tough gig, but Jason Holt, Director with Field Mining Services Group (FMS), a corporate partner with the JTAcademy, has provided some top tips for jobseekers.

Jason says Australia’s mining sector is going to need another 20,000 workers in the next five years so this means now is the ideal time for experienced and new workers to forge a strong and sustainable career in a growing sector.

Jason offered these five tips for apprentices wanting to join a major company in Australia’s mining sector such as FMS Group. These are:

1. Get your tickets: An apprenticeship is great, but extra tickets will open opportunities for you. Try simple, low-cost certifications like forklift, confined or working at heights tickets.

2. You can’t get a job you haven’t applied for: Even if you’re not 100% sure you have every qualification listed in a job ad, you should still apply. It’s good practice, ensures your CV is always current, may help you gain interview experience and you won’t know if you don’t give it a go.

3. Work out which companies you want to work for and follow them: All the major players in the industry have a strong social media presence and will post job ads regularly, so keep track of the companies you’re keen to work for.

4. Be proactive in the trade or skillsets you want to work towards: A great approach is to complete work experience in your area of focus or do some external training to gain knowledge prior to receiving an apprenticeship. This will also reassure you that you’ve chosen the right field to pursue.

5. Don’t give up: Follow up on prospects, interviews or opportunities and keep positive. The best candidate is one that shows they are keen and has an attitude that will go far in this business.

“The kinds of partnerships we have developed with FMS Group and the opportunities they are providing young Australians for access to education and employment opportunities are essential if we are to provide young Australians with chances to learn and earn,” JTAcademy General Manager Samantha Johnson said.

Field Mining Services (FMS) Group, one of the country’s leading suppliers of qualified trades and specialist maintenance to mining clients throughout Australasia, has a focus on developing and retaining the most talented workers in the industry.

FMS Group employs more than 250 employees across sites in Queensland, Western Australia and Papua New Guinea servicing clients in the mining, construction, oil and gas industries.


Evolution creates golden opportunity

MCO Melb Cup

THERE’s a golden connection between the NRL and the Melbourne Cup – an innovative Australian gold mining company that has this year delivered the glittering goods for both the racing trophy and the premiership winners.

Evolution Mining produced the gold for the Melbourne Cup – the 100th anniversary of its design – for the fourth consecutive year, as well as for the commemorative rings awarded to the successful grand final team.

The gold came from its Mt Carlton operation 150km south of Townsville.

Recognising its significance to local communities, Evolution worked with the Whitsunday and Burdekin Shires to secure a place on the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour, proudly giving people from local communities, including Gumlu, Home Hill, Ayr and Bowen and the Mt Carlton operation, a preview of the trophy long before the punters saw it on Cup day.

“This is truly an achievement each and every one of us can be proud of, so thank you Mt Carlton team for your hard work and dedication that helped produce the gold for this year’s Cup,” Evolution Mining’s Mt Carlton Operation general manager Anton Kruger said.

“It’s a privilege for Evolution staff to be involved in producing two of the most prestigious sports trophies in Australia.”

Gold for the NRL Premiership ring came from Evolution’s Cracow operation in central Queensland.  The JT Academy’s Managing Director Johnathan Thurston, the first player to add his touch to the ring that is gifted to every member of the NRL Premiership team, was inspired by an original painting by Wayne Martin of Nguram-Bang Aboriginal Art.

“This year, we chose to integrate a piece of home into the ring design as a sign of respect and acknowledgment to my home the Gungarri,” he said.

Each ring, worth $10,000, has 150 diamonds totalling two carats set in Evolution gold.

Cracow, which is based on the land of the Wulli Wulli people, will gift the value of the gold sourced from the land to the local indigenous group.

The Johnathan Thurston Academy has signed a two-year partnership with Evolution Mining to help improve access to employment opportunities for local and Indigenous jobseekers aged 16-25 in regional Australia.

The partnership sees the Academy currently working at four Evolution sites – Mt Carlton and Cracow in Queensland, Cowal in NSW and Mungari in Western Australia, with plans to extend to other sites.

The partnership, while promoting job vacancies opportunities, will also assist local and Indigenous participants by preparing them to be job ready.

Thurston said the partnership with Evolution Mining had enormous potential to create employment opportunities, which could help to significantly increase options available for youth in regional Australia.

“And that’s exciting,” he said. “This partnership with Evolution Mining will go a long way to equipping Indigenous youth with the skills and confidence needed to apply for work.

“This partnership also provides opportunities to work with such a forward-thinking company who are part of two of Australia’s iconic sporting events, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

To take advantage of the opportunities being provided and to register their interest in being part of the program, at

A job with Evolution? Now that’s NRL and Melbourne Cup gold.

JT visits Darwin for Aboriginal Economic Development Forum

Darwin Blog Image

JTAcademy team with Managing Director Johnathan Thurston and the Hon Selena Uibo.

It was a lively discussion last week when our Managing Director, Johnathan Thurston AM, hosted a session at the 9th Aboriginal Economic Development Forum in Darwin.

Thurston spoke about the work the JT Academy is doing in helping Indigenous youth access education and employment opportunities.

“Through the Academy, we have been able to provide literally thousands of young Australians with education and employment they would not otherwise have enjoyed,” Thurston said to the forum.

“We have had a focus on regional areas and now excited to be expanding into the NT where we are already starting to build key partnerships to provide these opportunities to locals.”

Thurston’s attendance at the Forum was sponsored by the JTAcademy’s major employment partner Lendlease.

Other speakers at the event include Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt, Aboriginal leader academic Professor Mick Dodson, Chair of Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia Dr Donna Odegaard and Northern Territory Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Education and Workplace Selena Uibo.

The forum, organised by the Northern Territory Government, was designed to encourage those working in Aboriginal businesses, services and programs to network with each other, share knowledge and showcase themselves.

The forum also aims to support discussion on Aboriginal economic development initiatives and strategies and attracts a diverse range of participants from Aboriginal entrepreneurs, private sector, industry, government and non-government organisations from across the Northern Territory.

“This forum was developed in response to the recognition that creating, retaining and growing Aboriginal jobs and businesses in the Northern Territory is important to the economy and wellbeing of local communities,” Thurston said.

“We have seen the value of partnerships in helping to reach those who have fallen through the cracks. We recognise that a large part of being employment-ready means having the confidence and self-belief that you can do it and that is often where we start.

“Through these partnerships and opportunities, we have seen lives change and want to keep doing that in the Northern Territory.”

Thurston has long been a passionate advocate and Ambassador for the Aboriginal community and in 2019 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to rugby league and as a role model.


Listen to the interview with Johnathan and Mix 104.9 here.



Johnson Controls working with JTAcademy to connect with jobseekers and foster diversity and inclusion opportunities

Johnson Controls Logo

In another exciting development for the Johnathan Thurston Academy, we have joined with Johnson Controls to improve access to employment opportunities for Indigenous jobseekers and foster diversity and inclusion opportunities within their organisation.

The exciting agreement also sees Johnson Controls sponsoring the delivery of a number of workshops to students at Queensland schools.

Johnson Controls transforms the environments where people live, work and play. From optimizing building performance to improving safety and enhancing comfort, they deliver to industries such as healthcare, education, data centers and manufacturing.

“We are delivering some awesome programs through the JTAcademy and I am so proud of what we have been able to achieve in less than two years,” JT Academy Managing Director Johnathan Thurston said.

“While the dream to help is one thing, it can only be realised through great relationships such as the one we have just entered into with Johnson Controls.

“Anything we can do to contribute to these opportunities allows us to help Indigenous people make a difference to their own lives and that of their community. And that really is quite remarkable to be a part of.”

A spokesperson for Johnson Controls said the company saw its work with the JTAcademy as an important opportunity to assist Indigenous jobseekers into meaningful employment.

“At Johnson Controls, we understand the value and importance of promoting diversity and inclusion throughout our organisation,” said Mark Shaw, Vice President, Pacific, Johnson Controls. “This allows us to take on the best employees from all backgrounds who often prove to be valuable and long-term employees for our organisation.

“By working with the JTAcademy, which has established itself to collectively build inclusion by linking community and industry, we believe we can help build sustainable employment opportunities and are excited by the opportunity.”

New partnership provides opportunities for Indigenous jobseekers

Evolution Mining

Young indigenous jobseekers will be given access to opportunities as part of a new two year partnership between the Johnathan Thurston Academy and Australian gold mining company Evolution Mining. Applications of interest are now being accepted.

Under the partnership, indigenous youth aged between 16 and 25will be able to access the education and employment opportunities available at four of Evolution’s regional operations – Mt Carlton and Cracow in Queensland, Cowal in NSW and Mungari in Western Australia – through the Academy’s website.

“We are committed to maximising local and Indigenous employment opportunities wherever possible,” Anika McManus, Evolution Mining Group Manager External and Indigenous Relations explained.

“And we are excited about our partnership with the JTAcademy as their programs will help remove some of the barriers we identified that were preventing some locals from applying for roles.

“Supporting people in the communities in which we operate to competitively apply for jobs, not just with us, but with any company, will benefit both the community and Evolution. 

“Targeted training and support around writing job applications, compiling a resume and, importantly, having the confidence to attend and succeed in a job interview, will help more people access available jobs and to have fulfilling careers.”

Thurston said the partnership had the potential to meaningfully change the lives of some who will receive work and training through it and he called on young people to register their interest.

“This partnership has been designed to allow young people in regional communities to get a leg up not just through training and employment, but even through the confidence-building which comes with that,” Thurston said.

“The Academy has been developed to help youth across Australia have more opportunities, and partnerships like this allow us to provide additional support for indigenous youth, especially those in remote and regional communities.

“But if they are to take advantage of the opportunities which are being provided, youth need to get a little pro-active and register their interest to be part of the program. It’s easy. They just need to go to the website:”

Thanks Lendlease for joining us on this journey

lendlease 1

More than four years ago we commenced the planning and development of the Johnathan Thurston Academy with a clear vision of supporting young people to succeed in employment, education, health and wellbeing.

When having conversations with various corporates, it was always our goal to partner with companies and organisations who share the same values and are like-minded in caring for their people and their community.

At our very first meeting with Lendlease, we knew immediately that we were two like-minded organisations and shared values of respect, integrity, collaboration and trust. What we didn’t realise at that meeting was that Lendlease would soon become our Major Employment Partner – and more so treat us and look after us like family.

Lendlease is a property and construction company with global expertise in shaping cities and creating strong and connected communities. Chief Executive Officer for Lendlease Building, Dale Connor, recognised an opportunity to partner with the JTAcademy to help influence the training and employment outcomes for young jobseekers across Australia.

“When we met with Johnathan, Academy Director Sam Ayoub and General Manager Samantha Johnson, we immediately recognised a clear alignment of objectives,” Connor said of the partnership.

“Both the Academy and Lendlease are committed to supporting the local communities in which we operate whether it is through employment, training or engagement with small to medium enterprise.

“We shook hands on it at the time agreeing Lendlease would be there for the Academy and we have been true to our word. We are proud of the work we have done together and the opportunities it has created.”

JT said the Academy was very much a start-up when the first meeting with Lendlease took place.

“The support and trust from Lendlease meant the world to myself and my team. It is a partnership that will forever remain as our very first.  Lendlease backing us was a pivotal point in our journey.  Forever grateful.

“We knew exactly what we wanted to achieve, but we also recognised that to achieve it, we needed strategic corporate partners who could help us walk-the-walk and not just talk-the-talk,” Thurston said.

“Samantha literally drew a mud map of the partnership using stick figures at our first brainstorming meeting with Lendlease. We have kept those drawings because they remind us of our humble beginnings and what we set out to achieve – to make a meaningful and very real difference in the lives of young Australians. 

“We have achieved a lot in just a couple of years and we could not have done that without the support of Lendlease.”

JT said the partnership with Lendlease had opened several doors to additional employment partners which would not have been accessible otherwise and they have also facilitated introductions to organisations which have become sponsors, supporters and partners.

When Lendlease added a link to its website to the JTAcademy’s job board, visitor numbers to the site went through the roof opening doors for new generations of youth to access opportunities to learn and work.

“The solid foundation we have been able to build is thanks to the generosity and support of Lendlease, and means we are now looking to launch an ambitious new youth and diversity employment program at the end of 2019 – JT2020, which I know will be a game-changer for employment,” Thurston said.

“We are excited about what we have already achieved and even more excited about our plans for the future to help more youth in more communities.”


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