Jobs for Locals a Focus for Lendlease in Cairns

The JT Academy is proud to announce it is working with their major employment partner Lendlease to provide new opportunities for both local and Indigenous job seekers on the refurbishment and expansion of the much loved Cairns Convention Centre.

Engaged by the Queensland Government as the Managing Contractor, Lendlease will soon commence construction on the $176 million projects that is set to support more than 570 jobs and provide a significant boost to the Cairns economy.

Lendlease has been a major employment partner of the JT Academy for the past two years and in line with their Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan, they are keen to work with the Academy to support the engagement of Community on the Cairns Convention Centre project.

The academy’s founder and managing director, Johnathan Thurston, joined Lendlease Construction Manager Jason Mulcahy last week on an online conference to outline the opportunities available for Indigenous job seekers and Indigenous-owned businesses.

“Lendlease is proud to partner with the JT Academy and the Cairns Convention Centre project is a great extension of this partnership which has been in place since the academy first opened in February 2018,” Mr. Mulcahy said.

“We are keen to engage with Indigenous business owners and job seekers to fill positions on this project and encourage them to make contact and supply their capability statements, so they can be considered.

“This is a great opportunity for Cairns district residents, with jobs soon to be available in areas such as construction, electrical, painting, tiling, and plumbing.

Johnathan Thurston said the academy’s relationship with Lendlease provided a unique opportunity for Indigenous people from the Cairns region to gain employment and he was excited about the potential the project offered.

“My enthusiasm was shared during the online discussion with about 140 of our valued employment partners and members,” Johnathan said.

“Through strong partnerships, such as we have with Lendlease, the JT Academy is committed to supporting individuals to reach personal, educational, and career goals.

“It’s about installing the confidence in young Australians that there are opportunities out there and there are people and companies such as Lendlease which want to make a solid commitment and show what real leadership looks like.”

JT Academy Project Team Coordinator, Maddy Parr, will be based in Cairns to manage the academy’s relationship with Lendlease and help Indigenous job seekers gain employment on the project.

If you are a job seeker looking to work on the project, you can register for JTHotJobs on the JTJobBoard at

Businesses wanting to register for the project or seeking more information should email the Lendlease project team at

JT Academy’s newest partner announces new job opportunities across QLD, NT, and WA

The Johnathan Thurston Academy’s newest partner, Vivid Property Services, will soon be able to offer a number of new employment opportunities across Australia.

Vivid will soon have opportunities for retail and commercial cleaners, groundskeepers, gardeners and maintenance workers in regional and metropolitan locations in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Vivid partnered with the JT Academy’s JTEmployIndigenous program earlier this year and Qld, NT and WA Regional Manager, Ray Freeman, said he was thrilled to be able to offer so many employment opportunities to academy members so early in the relationship.

“Today’s employment environment is particularly tough, so I am delighted we will be able to help so many people find work,” Mr. Freeman said. “I am passionate about providing new opportunities for local and regional job seekers who are hard-working and looking for opportunities that can become genuine careers.

“We will be looking for people who are open-minded, will turn up on time, and are prepared to learn.

“Our client is a truly national brand, so the right people will have opportunities to move forward in the company and work from the ground up.

“I am proud of Vivid’s partnership with the JT Academy and believe this will be just the first of many successes during our relationship.”

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.

JT Academy Managing Director Johnathan Thurston welcomed the news of Vivid’s employment opportunities.

“I am really proud that one of our partners is able to offer employment opportunities and potentially turn peoples’ lives around during such difficult times,” he said.

“By joining forces with like-minded organisations such as Vivid, the JT Academy is supporting our nation’s job seekers and growing their skills helps to build their confidence and unleash their full potential.

“Hats off to the team at Vivid for moving forward and offering such great opportunities for our job seekers.”

To apply for current roles with Vivid Property Services click HERE

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.”