From little things big things grow

South Australia’s Wilpena Pound Resort has had its first group of Indigenous graduates complete their training, much to the delight of Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA).

“This is an important day, we were told this would never happen, 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,” said ATLA CEO Vince Coulthard. “I am very proud of them all.”

The resort is jointly owned by ATLA and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and is nestled in the beautiful Flinders Ranges National Park. It offers motel rooms, safari tents, campsites and a range of meals and accommodation for visitors with all sorts of budgets.

“The goal for this partnership has always been to increase Adnyamathanha employment at the resort,” he said. “We now have 58% of staff who are Aboriginal. 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.

“We are of course aiming for 100% and that is something we will continue to work towards.”

Leigh Gower, from IBA Tourism Asset Management, said the group achieved Certificate III in Hospitality, and one graduate completed his Certificate III Commercial Cookery.

“Two of the trainees also achieved a Cert II in Retail. This is quite an achievement and it has been a very successful program,” Mr Gower said.

Andrew Anions, CEO of Career Employment Group, said 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 was around 50%, yet this initiative “had seen nine people from 11 successfully completing their qualification, which is a great outcome”.

Mr Coulthard thanked the graduates “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.”

Michael Anderson, the Yura Engagement Officer at the resort, said: “This is what we have been working towards and we will continue with more programs to ensure we get our people trained and employed at the resort.

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

Kerry Lee Coulthard, one of the Adnyamathanha graduates, added: “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.”

ATLA CEO Vince Coulthard with graduate Keshia Brady.
ATLA CEO Vince Coulthard with graduate Keshia Brady.

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