Vibrant Vanessa earns employment

When Fusion visited Vanessa and her fellow students earlier in 2019, the signs were already there that she would go on to achieve great things.

Under the expert instruction of trainer Mick Mather, Vanessa has gone above and beyond and earned employment with John Holland.

Vanessa is a respected elder of the community and loves the Batemans Bay region.

This is what she had to say upon a visit earlier this year:  “I have been involved in local indigenous community groups for many years. I want to be here in this area and I am keen to learn,” she said.

“Some of my brothers and cousins are traffic controllers and they say good things about it. That’s what I would like to do too.”

Since this visit, Vanessa has appeared in an About Regional news article. Here is here story:

At the tender age of 44, Vanessa Parsons has landed her first job and it’s with an international civil construction company no less – John Holland.

Vanessa is part of the new team building the $274 million Batemans Bay Bridge over the Clyde River.

“It changed my life,” Vanessa says.

She starts her day by ‘tapping on’ at the works depot and meeting her manager, Allison Hicks. “Vanessa is a one-of-a-kind person who quickly became an important part of the John Holland family,” Allison says.

“We love having Vanessa on our team, she plays a significant role in our 14 per cent Aboriginal recruitment on the Bay Bridge.”

Vanessa is a woman of the Yuin Nation along with her artist cousin Eileen Carberry who currently lives off-grid in the bush near Moruya – where she is deeply inspired by her connection with the land.

“All our Walbunga mob are here today,” says Eileen.

Minister for Transport and Roads and Member for Bega, Andrew Constance praised the company for its commitment to recognising and respecting Australia’s indigenous community.

“Contractors John Holland have introduced job-sharing, to help workers achieve better work-life balance and to support a more inclusive and diverse workforce,” he said.

“On Friday (July 12) the project team will also recognise NAIDOC week with a lunch, artwork and story-telling session with project staff, including Indigenous trainees, a local Elder and the Local Aboriginal Land Council.”

Katungul support worker Sue Towny works with Vanessa every Monday and says every week is different. “We meet at the coffee truck for breakfast, head to the library to read then do whatever Vanessa needs or wants.”

“I was so happy on the night before my first shift,” Vanessa says.

“I love meeting people, talking to people.

“My brother and dad love driving past when I’m on the road works and stirring me up. My youngest brother Terry walks past and says –  hey sis. I like it, it makes me feel good.”

Vanessa’s current role is cleaner for the depot, “I do every office,” Vanessa proudly boasts.

With Vanessa’s new taste for career life, she’ll never look back, “It gets me out of the home, away from video games. I’m never going back to no job.”

Support worker Sue Towny cares deeply for Vanessa and wants to see her flourish. “She’s very well respected at John Holland and we talk a lot about planning for her future now that she has a stable income.”

Gushingly, Vanessa interrupts and tells me the people at work always tell her how beautiful her smile is.

“One fella I stir up all the time by going to the steel bars on the windows, shaking them and saying – let me in let me in, he just laughs and laughs. I always get a big grin on ’em,” Vanessa boasts.

Since committing $55.7 million to the Closing the Gap employment program, the Australian Government has been working closely with local support services to strengthen its partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and stakeholders to solve the employment challenges facing Indigenous Australians.

So far the target to Close the Gap in employment is not on track which is why companies like John Holland are being celebrated for their success in recruiting and retaining Aboriginals in the Eurobodalla.



Mick’s 2000km adventure

Fusion trainer Mick Mather recently completed a mammoth 2000km road trip across western NSW and the Far South Coast, with an emphasis on assisting those undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship.

With one eye on the road and the other focused on assisting students, Mick devoted his time to overseeing each student’s pathway and success, resulting in positive outcomes.

“It was a worthwhile trip and I saw many students performing very well,” he said.

“We have many great people signing-up with Fusion and a commitment to completing a course is often rewarded with employment outcomes.

“It was also good to see the countryside flourishing after a dry first half to the year.”

Upon his travels, Mick ventured to Hillston and Carathool to assist Horticulture and Civil trainees.

He then ventured past the mountains of Kosciuoszko and headed further south to picturesque Eden, where he visited Fusion’s Construction and Civil trainees.

Mick has always been a big advocate for nurturing a student’s progress and ensuring they have the best opportunity to finish a course and succeed beyond, often resulting in outstanding employment opportunities.


Driving towards a career

One of Fusion’s most successful courses in 2019 has been its two-day Medium Rigid Skill Set course.

Funded by Smart & Skilled, the course has been running on a regular basis and is attracting plenty of interest at Fusion’s Montague St warehouse site.

Fusion’s Business Development manager Scott Michell said the course was for those engaged in driving operation job roles within the Transport and Logistics industry.

“It’s been our biggest, ongoing and successful course so far this year,” he said.

“The classroom work involves three units and each student is able to gain their logbook (RMS). There is also a driving assessment performed.”

Possible job titles relevant to this qualification include courier driver, express driver, pickup and delivery driver, priority driver, taxi truck driver, taxi driver and tow truck driver.


Civil students excel

Thirteen outstanding students have excelled at a course in the Batemans Bay area, earning a certificate and gaining meaningful employment.

The 13 students recently undertook a Certificate III course in Civil Construction, under the direction of trainer Mick Mather.
Student Layton Simon, 36, said the course had equipped him with the necessary mindset and enthusiasm to make an impact in the construction industry. He’s already a traffic controller and holds a truck licence.

“I’m looking to continually use my skills to go in the right direction,” he said.

“I have a history in business and government, and now I’m opening up my options to other areas of industry such plastering, carpentry and plumbing.”

Another student, Casey Smith, 37, said his attention would now shift to the construction sector where he plans to pursue plastering and cementing.

“I have set myself some goals and another is to drive excavators in the local area,” he said.

Casey is a former site officer for the Aboriginal Land Council, where he would train the trainees and provide guidance.

He has a strong background in business administration and has excelled throughout his volunteer work with the local Aboriginal community.

Female student Pirralee White, 20, is looking for a complete career change which involves the construction industry.  She has gone from being a nail and beauty technician to wanting to drive an excavator.

“I love the outdoors. I went to school in the area and I’m looking to do something in construction,” she said.

“I’ve done work in the nail and beauty sector, but my real dream is in construction.


Landscaping in Spring

For the past few weeks our landscaping students have been enjoying the spring weather and undertaking various outdoor projects as part of a Certificate II in Landscaping.

Under the guidance of trainer Maison Acton, students have been performing landscape construction work, operating basic machinery and equipment, and planting trees and shrubs.

Maison said the 12-week program is designed as a pre-apprenticeship training program, suiting those wanting to gain basic skills and knowledge to find employment in the industry, before moving into a horticultural landscape or landscape construction traineeship or apprenticeship.

“We’re a few weeks into the program and I’ve seen some outstanding commitment and results from the students,” he said.

The qualification provides an occupational outcome in landscaping and also includes the construction of low-profile timber or modular retaining walls, recognising plants, and the transport, handling and storing of chemicals.

The three-day-a-week course is being held at the Fusion Warehouse (4/33 Montague St, North Wollongong).


Earthmoving at Malula Bay

Fusion students recently took advantage of a rare opportunity to witness huge earthmoving machinery close-up when trainer Mick Mather took a Civil Construction training group on a trip to Malula Bay.

The adventurous Civil  group joined two Civil apprentices linked to Fusion on a field trip to see the “big guns” in action at a sub-division run by APF Civil Pty Ltd.

Mick said the day out was an enormous learning experience for the Civil students.

“It was a massive eye-opener for all of us to see this machinery move mountains of dirt,” he said.

“The students saw the big-guns in action as well as learning about working heavy haulage and undertaking machinery inspections.”

Mick also thanked APF Civil for their involvement. Malula Bay is located near Batemans Bay.