Construction industry hails contribution of Indigenous workforce
As Australia celebrates NAIDOC Week (5-1
6 July, 2015 3 min read
As Australia celebrates NAIDOC Week (5-12 July) CSQ is shining a spotlight on the valuable contribution Indigenous workers are making to the state’s construction industry.
According the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are more than 3500 Indigenous members of Queensland’s building and construction workforce*.
CSQ CEO Brett Schimming said Indigenous workers were helping to drive Queensland’s construction industry forward, particularly in regional areas.
“In recent years Queensland has completed a number of multi-billion dollar resource projects which have stretched the capacity of our construction workforce.
“These projects could not have been delivered successfully without drawing on local Indigenous communities.
“The industry has put in place some great training initiatives which have helped to develop the skills of Indigenous workers,” he said.
Among these initiatives is a pilot program CSQ developed in conjunction with Batavia Downs Station and Skill360 to prepare local Indigenous people from Aurukun, Mapoon and Weipa for work on local civil infrastructure projects.
Commencing in April 2015, the initiative saw nine indigenous workers undertake a six week ‘live in’ skills development program.
Providing more than just a classroom experience, the participants were able to live on a working cattle property, developing some industry recognised competencies to start a career in the construction industry.
The course included life skills, work skills, basic maintenance and operation of civil plant and equipment, fitness development, team work, team leadership and cultural activities.
The training was delivered at Batavia Downs Station in Far North Queensland and saw participants receive hands on civil construction experience on the property.
CSQ expects that the pilot training program will become a model for providing a skilled local Indigenous workforce that can meet regional project needs.
Each participant successfully graduated from the pilot program in June and more than half of the group have now found employment.
Some of the participants may follow in the footsteps of Mackay resident Khyrsilla Backo who won the CSQ Indigenous Person of the Year Award at the 2014 CSQ Excellence Awards.
Khrysilla was badly injured by broken glass when she was ten and has now overcome her fear to establish a career in glazing.
In winning her Award, the judges saw that Khrysilla demonstrated a capacity to motivate and inspire others within the indigenous community.
Her training and the expansion of her responsibilities continue and she now leads a team of 40 workers.
At CSQ we encourage more Indigenous workers like Khrysilla to make their mark in the Queensland construction industry.
For information about starting a career in the construction industry visit www.csq.org.au or phone 1800 798 488.
*Data Source: 2011 Census of Population and Housing