FM companies offer apprenticeships to Indigenous students

by Tiffany Paczek
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Some of Australia’s largest facilities management and project management companies – BGIS, Cushman & Wakefield, Evolve FM and Hutchinson Builders – have offered 15 apprenticeships to the students in the NRL Indigenous School to Work (S2W) program.

The new traineeships and apprenticeships were offered to the 2018 S2W graduates at a lunch to celebrate the education initiatives’s achievements for the year. More than 30 students and young Indigenous leaders were joined former and current NRL stars (including Cliff Lyons, Greg Inglis, Preston Campbell, Wendell Sailor and Steve Menzies), as well as sponsors, and past students who shared their personal stories and how the program has helped them.

Organiser of the event Gaven Sheehan says, “We recognised the importance of providing a platform where students could celebrate their success, plus be introduced to prospective employers in an informal setting. The formula has been very productive, with several jobs eventuating with some of Australia’s largest project management and facilities management companies.”

This year the NRL’s S2W program attained a 95 percent achievement rate in New South Wales, with 308 Year 12 graduates – its biggest cohort to date. An additional 500 students are expected to be supported through the program in 2019, funded by the Federal government.

John McCormick, president and managing director APAC at BGIS, says, “This symbolic celebration event helps bridge the gap between employers and employees. The occasion connects communities via sport, resulting in invaluable education and employment opportunities. We are delighted to play our part by employing graduates across several work sites in 2019.”

Hutchinson Builders’ Statim Yaga program, which aims to place an additional 350 Indigenous workers in the construction industry, partnered with the NRL S2W program a few years ago.

“We knew the great work the program was doing to get the kids through school and what we wanted to do was access them for our industry,” says Mark Kucks, Hutchinson’s Indigenous program manager. “We’ve had a number of their graduates come through our program and commence careers in construction.”

James Patterson, chief executive, Cushman & Wakefield Australia and New Zealand, says, “We’re proud to be participating for the second year in a row. Indigenous engagement is a fundamental part of our business. Our Reconciliation Action Plan outlines a number of tangible commitments we have made towards Indigenous employment, engagement and commercial opportunities. Organisations like the NRL School to Work program help us to achieve these goals. We look forward to providing opportunities to a number of graduates of the program.”

Steve Mackintosh, CEO of Evolve FM, adds, “As an Indigenous business, employing over 40 percent of Indigenous staff, the opportunity to become involved in the NRL School to Work program was very appealing. It provides the perfect platform to identify new employees at a grassroots level and train them from the ground up, including assistance with tertiary studies were appropriate.”

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