In 2007, recognising a severe shortage of childcare places in the Pilbara, BHP Billiton set out to alleviate the issue for local families, developing the Pilbara Childcare Strategy. Working closely with YMCA Perth, two new childcare centres were established, one in Newman in August 2009 and one in Port Hedland in March 2010, each able to host up to 120 children.
In addition to the building the childcare centres, professional childcare staff were recruited, staff accommodation established and ongoing skills training provided.
Previously faced with waiting lists in excess of 12 months, local women are now able to return to work if they choose, improve their work-life balance and connect with other families.
BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Pilbara Childcare Strategy has delivered many positive outcomes including more opportunities for women in the Pilbara, the eradication of the childcare shortage in the Pilbara and the establishment of community infrastructure beyond the provision of childcare services.