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MORE than 40 Aboriginal people have been employed by six Kwinana businesses through an award-winning training program developed by Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers (WesCEF).

The program Creating Opportunities Spotlight, won a national training award in recognition of WesCEF’s success in creating employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people across a variety of industries.

One of the creators behind the successful program is WesCEF Procurement Specialist, Desmond Roche, who noticed when dealing with local suppliers, that most had not given Aboriginal employment much consideration, but were open to the idea.

“A review of our supply chain showed us that although our suppliers understood the value of having Aboriginal employees, they were still not employing them from the local community due to a lack of knowledge on how to start and manage the process,” he said.

WesCEF subsidiary company, CSBP, began to host a number of education sessions at their site in Kwinana, inviting suppliers to come along and learn how to engage Aboriginal people and create a culturally inclusive work environment.

“The program highlighted CSBP’s commitment to Aboriginal development and the benefits diversity brings to an organisation,” Mr Roche said.

“We shared experiences and lessons learned, including achievements and challenges.

“We see Spotlight as an important part of our contribution to closing the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal employment.”

Programmed Skilled Workforce area manager in Henderson Mick McDermott was one of the first suppliers to come on board and the first to employ an all Aboriginal work crew for CSBP.

“Programmed is committed to providing training and employment opportunities that assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in gaining relevant skills and experience for life,” he said.

The Spotlight program gave us the opportunity to work collaboratively with WesCEF to support and develop this team.

“Organising an all-Aboriginal team is not easy, but there has been a difference made to the 36 Aboriginal people we have placed at work, which certainly makes the process enriching,” Mr McDermott said.

The WesCEF program will continue to run in 2019.