Aboriginal employment success at Wilpena Pound

The first group of students have graduated from their training course at the Wilpena Pound Resort. 

Vince Coulthard, CEO of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) said the graduation was a significant moment. 

"This is an important day, we were told this would never happen - that we would not be able to get Adnyamathanha people through the training program - and here we are with our first group of graduates, most of whom are Adnyamathanha. I am very proud of them all,” Mr Coulthard said. 

The resort is jointly owned by ATLA and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA). 

The goal of the partnership has been to increase Adnyamathanha employment at the resort.

“Now 58% of staff employed are Aboriginal,” Mr Coulthard said. 

"For the history of the resort there has been virtually no Aboriginal people employed and we have managed to turn that around in just a few short years.”

Leigh Gower from IBA Tourism Asset Management attended the graduation and said they are aiming for 100% Aboriginal employment. 

 “That is something we will continue to work towards,” she said. 

“This will be the start of the journey for many of them and I encourage them all to embrace the concept of lifelong learning whether that be in a classroom or on-the-job - never give up until you achieve your dreams.

“Initially we ran a three week work-ready program facilitated by Career Employment Group and Workskil.

“From that some of our trainees were chosen and employed by CEG and we hosted them at the resort where they undertook both their theoretical and practical training, including some eLearning. When all their units of competency were completed they achieved their Certificate III in Hospitality, or for one graduate his Certificate III Commercial Cookery. Two of the trainees also achieved a Cert II in Retail.”

Andrew Anninos CEO of Career Employment Group also attended the graduation.

“Everyone involved with the Ikara Wilpena Pound Apprenticeship and Traineeship program should be very proud of their achievements, the national average of apprentices and trainees completing their qualification is around 50%, this initiative has seen nine people from 11 successfully completing their qualification, it is a great outcome,” he said. 

Vince Coulthard thanked the graduates, some of whom had achieved two certificates and there was one person who completed his apprenticeship as a chef. 

“Thank you for all of your hard work, we are all very proud of you, this is an important day not just for you individually but for Adnyamathanha people,” Mr Coulthard said. 

Michael Anderson, the Yura Engagement Officer at the resort said this was a day they had been working towards. 

“For these individuals though this is just the start and if they want to move on and tour around Australia working in resorts, these qualifications make that possible,” he said. 

Graduate Kerry Lee Coulthard said the qualification had given her a wonderful confidence boost. 

“This has allowed me to believe in myself, to show me what I could do. I want to work in other places too but working in my own country has been great too,” she said.