WBHO recognises the importance of leading companies to engage positively with indigenous Australia, and the contribution we can make to help ‘close the gap’.
Though we currently employ indigenous Australians and engage with traditional owners over the normal course of delivering our projects, we are committed to further sharing the benefits of construction projects and associated works, whether through direct economic benefit or otherwise.
The principles that underpin this commitment are:
- A respect for and consideration of the cultural, social and spiritual systems practised by indigenous Australians
- Provision of a supportive working environment for indigenous Australians
- Promotion of business, training and employment opportunities for indigenous Australians
- To respect and better understand contemporary Indigenous Australia and impacts on their business, recruitment and career development aspirations.
WBHO has a proven track record of enabling indigenous participation in the industry. We have consistently worked on projects where indigenous engagement and provision of employment/subcontract opportunities to traditional owner groups has been integral to our resourcing and overall project success.
We regularly exceed indigenous workforce percentage targets. For example, over the course of multiple upgrades for Main Roads Western Australia, we exceeded the target of 10 percent aboriginal participation and five per cent local aboriginal participation, and exceeded the target of 5 percent of contract value to be spent on subcontracts and services procured from indigenous businesses. We also exceeded the targets set on our NBN rollout projects, with WBHO employing over double the targeted percentage of aboriginal employees.
Training and Apprenticeships
WBHO offers training opportunities to aboriginal employees that provide a structured pathway to ongoing and sustained employment post project completion. For example, over the course of multiple projects for Main Roads Western Australia, we engaged with local organisations and the client to implement a Certificate III in Civil Construction training program, up-skilling our aboriginal labour workforce so that they can fulfil site engineer, site administration, plant operator, leading hand, tradesperson an traffic control roles. A number of former students within this program are now direct employees of WBHO, while our current apprenticeship scheme includes ten indigenous apprentices.
We also engage with local Indigenous youth groups and organise structured career days at key stages of projects, with aboriginal employees encouraged to coordinate and lead such career days; there is clear evidence that such mentoring promotes and encourages younger indigenous teenagers to actively seek meaningful work opportunities.
Over the course of project delivery and our broader operations, WBHO sponsors or partners with local organisations as part of community engagement, meeting our positive legacy goals and improving opportunities for indigenous Australians. For example, WBHO sponsored the Clontarf Football Academy in Western Australia, which later afforded work placement opportunities for young indigenous school attendees and leavers.