Airport’s learning circle path to job opportunities

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Western Sydney International Airport (WSI) and its contractor AeroWest have opened a traditional Aboriginal learning circle.  

The learning circle was constructed by First Nations employees from AeroWest, using materials donated by local Western Sydney business, Hytec Concrete.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Western Sydney schools helped to open the circle, learning about the cultural significance of the yidaki, the traditional name for the didgeridoo, discovering the process for making fire from traditional materials and stencilling their hands onto the concrete.

The students were then taken on a tour of the airport construction site, learning about future jobs on site and what the new airport will do for the region.

Katy Hannouch, general manager – community engagement and social impact at Western Sydney International Airport has been working with the team at AeroWest to launch WSI’s First Nations Taking Off program.

“The aim of the program is to teach local First Nations young people about the opportunities the airport will create and how they can get the skills needed to succeed in the multiple industries that will be a part of WSI,”, Ms Hannouch said.

“Overall, the program is committed to fostering connections between First Nations young people and First Nations employees across the project, as well as to provide the support and guidance needed to succeed in their chosen career paths.’’

Ms Hannouch said Western Sydney International Airport is already establishing strong engagement with local and First Nations people and businesses.

“Today there are over 3,000 people working in the peak construction phase, 50 percent of whom live in Western Sydney,” Ms Hannouch said.

“The airport project currently has more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working on the team.

“Over $400 million has been spent with around 250 Western Sydney-based businesses since the start of works in 2017 and First Nations businesses account for over 10 percent of contracts across the total airport project.”

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