Tahlia starts her journey with GFG Foundation

News > 3rd August, 2023

Program providing pathways for young people at Tahmoor

3 August 2023

Picton High School student Tahlia Sheppard wants to be a mine plant operator, loves Ford Mustangs and has always wanted to meet SIMEC Mining Tahmoor Coking Coal Executive General Manager Peter Vale.

This all came together in perfect symmetry when Tahlia and her mum Susan attended the first GFG Foundation mentor session at Tahmoor. She got to meet Peter, who is a mentor in the program, was able to see the pathway forward to achieve her career aims and, as an added bonus, found out that Peter owns a Mustang!

It was also perfect timing for the Year 12 student as she was starting to seriously consider her future.

Tahlia would love nothing better than to be a plant operator and own a Ford Mustang … I think she might have made the first step towards that with the GFG Foundation

Susan Sheppard (mother)

On the verge of leaving school to seek courses that led to a mining career, Tahlia and Susan met with school staff recently to outline her plans and had their dreams answered with news Picton High School and the Wollondilly Anglican College were partnering with the GFG Foundation for the first intake of students.

“I’ve always wanted to be a plant operator and was ready to leave school,” Tahlia said.

“I just wasn’t sure how to go about it, what courses to do and the pathway didn’t seem clear.

BUILDING A CAREER: Tahlia Sheppard at the GFG Foundation session.

“When the school mentioned the Foundation, it suddenly became clear and an ideal way to find out more and hopefully a pathway to get into this line of work.”

For Susan, news of the GFG Foundation was a ‘god send’ and a program she wished was available when she went to school. Tahlia will now be staying in school and finishing Year 12 while preparing for a possible career in the mines with the help of the Foundation.

“Tahlia has known for a long time she wanted to work in the mines,” Susan said.

“She was so excited when we found out about the GFG Foundation, it’s all she’s talked about now for weeks and she’s been talking for ever about meeting Peter Vale.

“The vibe at the first session was fantastic, it is such a great opportunity for the kids and something that will hopefully carry on for generations to come so we can get more kids interested in work and the opportunities that exist.”

Tahlia also achieved her aim to be in one of Peter’s groups when the students split up for exercises with mentors at the first session. That extended to a long chat with Peter after the session with an exchange of Ford Mustang pictures on their phones.

“Tahlia would love nothing better than to be a plant operator and own a Ford Mustang … I think she might have made the first step towards that with the GFG Foundation,” Susan said.

The GFG Foundation continues to grow in Australia with this first intake of students for the SIMEC Mining colliery at Tahmoor in New South Wales. 

When the school mentioned the Foundation, it suddenly became clear and an ideal way to find out more and hopefully a pathway to get into this line of work

Tahlia Sheppard

The introduction of 30 Year 9 and 10 students, from Picton High School and the Wollondilly Anglican College, to the GFG Foundation makes Tahmoor Coal the fourth GFG Alliance operation site to host the community-based learning and development program.

The GFG Foundation focuses on programs to support people, particularly young people, to reach their potential and strengthen industries and local communities by boosting skills and employment prospects. 

For more information on the GFG Foundation go to GFG Foundation |

Main image: Tahlia Sheppard, Peter Vale and Susan Sheppard at the first GFG Foundation session at Tahmoor.

Read more about the GFG Foundation at Tahmoor

Parents on board for GFG Foundation journey

GFG Foundation off to a flying start

One response

    Peter McKay 10 months ago

    What a fantastic opportunity Tahlia has taken 👍

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