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You can’t help but notice a buzz of energy in Kiley these days, reflected in her infectious spark, renewed outlook on life, and bright orange workwear.
Kiley is an Aboriginal woman, born and bred on Wiradjuri country in Dubbo, who is a resilient mother and grandmother to her family.
This Project means a lot to her and is being carried out by her employer, Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure, on behalf of the NSW Government. Kiley is now part of a team with over 200 staff and sub‑contractors, with a strong emphasis on Aboriginal participation and hiring a local workforce.
“It feels overwhelming to be working on such a significant local project because it’s part of your hometown,” Kiley said.
“I look forward to the day my grandkids say that Nan worked on that bridge.”
Sistas in Trade was a six-week pre-employment program that Bamara delivered in two rounds from May to September 2023. The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations funded the program through the Local Jobs Program.
It aimed to help local First Nations women connect with local providers and employers to kickstart construction, infrastructure, and manufacturing careers through skills and qualifications training and on-site experiences across the Far West Orana Employment Region.
Before connecting with Bamara, Kiley faced multiple barriers and had been unemployed for over a year. She sought guidance, structure, and an opportunity to provide for her family, hoping that someone would listen and offer her a chance.
Kiley was referred to the program by her provider, VERTO, and immediately saw it as an opportunity she had to take.
“When I heard about the opportunity with Sistas in Trade and that there was work experience involved, and potentially work at the end of it – I said to myself, I got this… I’m doing this,” Kiley said.
“Work experience, in particular, was a real eye-opener for me.”
She overcame initial challenges and completed the six-week program in June 2023, gaining valuable qualifications desirable for working on construction sites and forging new friendships and connections in the industry along the way.
Program Facilitator Lynn Field was crucial in providing participants with guidance, mentoring, feedback during their pathway to success and, most importantly, the tools to become a better version of themselves.
“She’s real. Lynn is there to help you. She was the perfect fit for me,” Kiley said.
“She is relatable to every one of us in the class. Lynn would word it down to easy lingo without all the jargon, has done the hard yards, and genuinely cares.”
Kiley’s hard work and enthusiasm paid off, with Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure recognising her potential and offering her a permanent position as a labourer one month later.
She works at the gatehouse entry of the construction site and is responsible for maintaining safe entry and exit. Her duties include ensuring that all delivery drivers are appropriately inducted and that access to the site is in line with policies. Additionally, she checks load limits are correct to ensure the safety of everyone on the site.
Kiley hopes her success will inspire more Sistas to pursue similar career paths.
“I feel empowered to break through into a male-dominated industry, but I also understand the importance of being humble. I want to be treated no differently,” Kiley said.
“I work well with everyone, enjoy the good team spirit and camaraderie, and feel prouder for our mob.”
Whether you want to learn more about the Sistas in Trade program, or to discuss options through our services or programs, we’re here to help. Contact us today:
Office Contact Number
1300 012 476