Footpath project a winner for indigenous employment
In a forward step for indigenous employment in the region, the Southern Downs Regional Council recently partnered with Mission Australia on a project aimed at providing indigenous employment on the Federal Government’s National Bikeway Project.
The three month project has delivered the construction of concrete footpaths in Allora’s Darling and Forde Streets, Harris Street in Stanthorpe, and Yangan Road in Warwick.
Council’s Human Resources Manager, Louise Harding, said that the joint venture has been an alliance with benefits such as skill development for indigenous residents and health benefits to the Southern Downs community as a whole.
“The bikeway project was a great opportunity in terms of helping indigenous people get jobs and breaking down some of the perceived barriers to Council employment from within the indigenous community,” Ms Harding said.
“Council already has substantial training and development programs operating but this project gave us a chance to deliver a significant community project while assisting a specific target group within our community.”
Ganger in charge of the four-man work group, Tim McCosker, acknowledged that his team had come a long way in three months.
“Initially the team had no understanding of concreting but they’ve spent the last three months preparing, placing and finishing concrete to a high standard,” Mr McCosker said.
“The guys get a good insight into this type of work and the community gets some great bikeways, which are in high demand, with the public even suggesting where we put paths in the future.”
“It has been a good outcome for all three communities and I have been happy with what the guys have achieved and learnt,” he said.
As well as learning the finer points of concrete work, the team were able to develop skills in workplace health and safety, traffic management and general workforce practices – all skills that are transferable to other employment situations.
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