Community News

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis with some of the graduates of the pre-employment program. Image: Contributed

More jobs for the local Aboriginal community thanks to the Clarence Correctional Centre

Six local Aboriginal young people have begun work on construction of Grafton’s new Clarence Correctional Centre after securing apprenticeships with local business Laser Plumbing and Electrical. 

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis were on site last week to meet the apprentices who graduated from the Aboriginal Pathways program.

“The construction of the new correctional centre is already providing a significant boost to the Clarence Valley community and local economy,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“This includes creating new job opportunities for our local Aboriginal community.

“We are delighted to have these six fantastic graduates working on this vital piece of state infrastructure.”

The design and construction company for this project, John Holland, has partnered with Aboriginal Pathways, Aboriginal Employment Strategy and TAFE NSW to conduct a pre-employment program for members of the local Aboriginal community.

As part of this program, a group of local Aboriginal community members completed their Certificate I in Civil Construction, with six graduates recruited by local contractor Laser Plumbing and Electrical to work on a $20 million plumbing and electrical contract for the correctional centre. Another two graduates have also been placed in local jobs.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell praised the program and the support it provides to local Aboriginal employment.

“The pre-employment program gives Aboriginal community members the right kind of skills to work on local projects that make a real difference to their local communities,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Through the Aboriginal Pathways program, each graduate is given the opportunity to learn and grow in a culturally-safe working environment.”

John Holland Project Director, Paul Cassel, said he was proud of the contribution this project will make to the community.

“This is a wonderful result. We always aim to leave a lasting legacy in the communities we work in and look forward to continuing to achieve positive results for the local community along with our subcontractors,” Mr Cassel said.

Grant Smith, Operations Manager, Laser Plumbing and Electrical Lismore, said the company is committed to using a local workforce for the project, including indigenous and apprentice participation.

“We are pleased to have been afforded the opportunity by John Holland to leave a legacy in the region and look forward to developing these relationships as the project continues.”