A significant start for the Calderwood Valley Aboriginal Ranger Program

Calderwood Valley

On Tuesday 1 May, Calderwood Valley hosted a special event to mark the official start of recruitment for the Aboriginal Ranger Program. Welcoming young Aboriginal people from across the Illawarra region to learn about the program, the event marked the culmination of months of planning and an exciting milestone for all involved.

Run by Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural & Education Centre, the Aboriginal Ranger program will employ 6 -10 full time rangers from the Aboriginal community. The rangers will be trained to provide industry standard bush regeneration to Calderwood Valley, starting with a project underneath the recently constructed Djindi Bridge and continuing along Macquarie Rivulet.

The young people will be given the chance to take a pre-vocational course to prepare them as candidates for the ranger roles, as well as other employment opportunities at Calderwood Valley in the future. The event is a significant step for Calderwood, Muru Mittigar and the Aboriginal community, marking the start of a long-term plan to achieve much-needed workforce development for local Aboriginal people. The event was not only a chance for the young people to learn about the new ranger positions, but a chance to hear from some inspirational guest speakers. Joining the Calderwood Valley and Muru Mittigar teams at the event were Lendlease Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Ambassadors and retired AFL players Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin. The pair, both proud Aboriginal men, offered some important words of wisdom to the attendees, explaining how important it is to seize opportunity when it is offered.

‘It’s because of {these opportunities} that Michael and I have been able to achieve the things that we have in our careers and got to where we are today. Now we’ve moved into the business world, we want to pay it back,’ said Goodes.

The opportunity starts with rangers, and I see more opportunities in business here; landscaping companies, cleaning companies, building, apprenticeships [...] that opportunity is in front of us, and it’s only up to us to see where that opportunity will take us.’

Recruiting of the rangers starts this week, coinciding with the start of National Reconciliation week (27th May- 3rd June) which commemorates two significant milestones in reconciliation history in Australia- the 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. The Aboriginal Ranger program will just be the beginning of many initiatives at Calderwood Valley to celebrate the local Aboriginal culture, natural environment and rich heritage values of the area.

To find out more about the Aboriginal Ranger jobs available, contact Warrigal Employment: 2376 1878 or [email protected].

The Aboriginal Ranger program is just one of several initiatives undertaken by Lendlease to encourage career development, sustainable business growth, and economic participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians within their sector. This commitment is outlined in the Lendlease Reconciliation Action Plan, which can be found at www.lendlease.com/RAP.

Lendlease RAP Ambassadors Michael O’Loughlin and Adam Goodes speaking at the commencement of the Aboriginal Ranger Program.