Les nails down council funds for project to up-skill indigenous workers

CLOSING THE GAP: Les, Alivya and Rachael Powell are looking forward to starting a house on this Clem McFawn Place block, emplying 20 people. 
Photo: STEVE GOSCH. 0824sgbuild2

CLOSING THE GAP: Les, Alivya and Rachael Powell are looking forward to starting a house on this Clem McFawn Place block, emplying 20 people. Photo: STEVE GOSCH. 0824sgbuild2

A PROGRAM to employ more indigenous people and teach them career skills has received $40,000-worth of support from Orange City Council.

Earlier this year, labour hire company Dittinjarda Consultants applied for the grant to help it buy a block of land in Clem McFawn Place so its partner company, Aliv-Rae Homes, could build a house, employing 20 indigenous people.

The house will then be sold, with the proceeds put towards the next project.

Last Thursday, councillors approved the application and Dittinjarda and Aliv-Rae owner Les Powell said the four-month project would start within weeks.

“Employing 20 indigenous kids, it’s a lot of money to pay out, so any incentive is going to be a bonus,” he said.

Mr Powell hoped the employees trained during the program would grow into mentors themselves.

“I’d like to see kids own their own businesses,” he said.

“People talk about closing the gap - I think we need to open our minds and that gap will shut.” 

However, Mr Powell warned any workers interested in gaining experience to come with the right attitude. 

“We can open up the pathway, but it’s their attitude that makes their employment become sustainable,” he said.

“If you come to me with excuses, don’t come.” 

Mr Powell said the project already had tradespeople on board to supervise, but he said the program wanted to build networks and encouraged retired tradespeople and equipment sponsors to come forward.

“We’re going to grow exponentially and we can never have enough good staff,” he said.

He hoped to expand Dittinjarda’s activities to hospitality and other industries to further increase work opportunities.

To get involved with the project, call 0428 420 084 or email admin@alivraehomes.com.au.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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