A keen group of Indigenous students from the South Coast have drilled, nailed and chiselled their way to a future in the rewarding construction sector, following an impressive involvement based at the $342 million Nowra Bridge project.
Backed by powerful construction firm Fulton Hogan and training provider Fusion Training Solutions, 11 hard-working students recently graduated from the Nowra Bridge Pre-Employment Program.
The three-month course provided the graduates with knowledge and hands-on skills such as handling construction materials, construction tools and equipment.
Other course activities focused on life skills, workplace behaviour and reliability.
With a smile as wide as the bridge itself, Fusion director Andrew Park described the rewarding course as a “win-win” for students and employers.
“It’s a fantastic and ongoing opportunity to gain meaningful employment,” he said.
“I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years and it’s a new era of being able to train, engage and keep people in employment, and embed that employment as a legacy.”
Fulton Hogan Workforce Development and Training Manager Andrew Craig was confident of a prosperous future for the graduating students.
“I acknowledge all you fine people who have graduated from this program,” he said.
Student Maddison Rowe, 24, of Shoalhaven Heads, said the course was beneficial. She further encouraged others to follow in upcoming programs run by Fusion.
“I woke with a smile on my face each day, knowing that I was going somewhere that was rewarding and would help with my career,” she said.
Fellow student Robert Simpson-McLeod, 22, of Nowra, added: “It was helpful to learn the skills and knowledge that comes with construction.”
The bridge project, funded by the Federal and NSW Liberal and Nationals governments, aims to improve traffic flow and ease congestion on the major section of the Princes Highway. It’s estimated about 50,000 motorists cross the Shoalhaven River each day.
The project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2024, weather permitting.