The Wilcannia Weir Replacement project isn't simply a concrete construction - it's a great example of how community engagement and stakeholder collaboration can set new benchmarks in delivering government infrastructure projects in communities.
As part of the projects Aboriginal Participation in Construction (APIC) policy and supporting employment opportunities for the local community, we partnered with the Wilcannia Community Working Party, WaterNSW, Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly (MPRA) and TAFE NSW to develop and implement a training program to equip local Aboriginal people with job-ready skills in construction.
In exciting news, the first cohort of eight students have graduated from this program.
The partnership was first formed following WaterNSW engagement to establish a pilot project using the APIC policy to invest in the local community of Wilcannia, rather than outsourcing to other regions.
This is seen as a preferred model for NSW government infrastructure projects, where project focus is invested back into the local communities, to deliver on training and employment opportunities that are designed to address underlying issues in these remote communities.
This milestone would not have been reached if it wasn't for the incredible teamwork shown by all involved.
Much hard work and support has gone into making this training course successful by the partners and the Wilcannia community, and we are very proud to play our part. A Graduation day video
has been made showing the highlights of the ceremony and showcasing the key support people who gave speeches at the event.
TAFE NSW graduates were congratulated on their achievements, with Kile Harris giving a speech on behalf of the students explaining how they helped each other out to finish the course.
“We are getting the training and getting prepared to go in there and do these jobs now that we have the qualifications”, he added.
Representatives from across the project came together in recognising the value of collaboration and teamwork across the multiple stakeholders involved.
Brendon Adams, the Wilcannia Hub Site Manager from REDI.E spoke about the value of the partnership and the teams’ work to encourage enrolments and offer the ongoing support needed to complete the accredited courses.
Brendon and his team kept the participants in PPE, and also provided transport, catering and administrative support.
Monica Whyman also spoke passionately as the Wilcannia Community Working Party Chairperson as she said “I am so proud of you all and what you have achieved and we will continue to support you in the job opportunities in town”.
Monica has been providing pivotal cultural support and liaison to the participants and assists on the ground and advocates on the students’ behalf.
Colin King, the Education Support Officer from TAFE NSW Wilcannia, is working with teaching staff to support the students in all of the courses, both with their bookwork, in the shed and the food van, doing their practical work.
The TAFE NSW courses are being supported by the Broken Hill team and they currently have their hospitality mobile van in Wilcannia, with 9 students aiming to complete the course in May.
The hospitality students worked at the graduation event and served up a delicious 2 course meal for over 40 people of chicken schnitzel, chips and salad followed by a tart with chocolate ganache and raspberry coulis.
Brendan O’Neill also spoke on behalf of WaterNSW and thanked everyone for the successful partnership to make this happen.
REDI.E continues to look for ways to provide opportunities for employment on important projects in our communities.
This initiative is funded/supported by the Australian Government.