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Inclusive employment initiative sparking interest

2 July 20240 comments

An innovative new initiative is helping people from diverse and marginalised communities embark on rewarding careers.

Spark, an alliance of construction and infrastructure companies working on Victoria’s Big Build, is offering opportunities to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers as well as to young people, survivors of family violence, veterans, people living with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The consortium has established an industry-first Inclusive Jobs Team that provides an holistic recruitment service for contractors working on Melbourne’s North East Link project.

Spark recruits priority jobseekers in line with the project’s equitable priority jobseeker procurement policy, working with hiring managers and recruiters while also providing interview preparation training to candidates.

It also provides on-going mentoring and job coaching support for successful candidates over the first six months of their employment.

Spark staff conduct regular check-ins with candidates and provide their managers and teammates with any training needed to integrate the priority jobseeker cohort.            

Spark Senior Inclusive Employment Lead Sarah Oliver said the organisation’s work was a new way of creating inclusive workplaces.

“We understand the value of a diverse and inclusive workforce and are committed to supporting job seekers who face barriers to sustainable employment into roles,” Sarah said.

One of Spark’s candidates is senior electrical engineer Niveeth Chattergy, who spent a decade working on some of the biggest infrastructure projects in the Middle East.

But on migrating to Australia, he struggled to resume his professional career.

After connecting with Spark, he has re-established his professional career in Australia.

“I’m now working as a Cost Controller with SPARK, on Melbourne’s North East Link project. I’m enjoying the job and for me it’s a first step in a new career in engineering and construction in Australia.

“I want to go from here and build my career and utilise my skills and experience. I’m grateful and thankful for the support I’ve received from AMES and SPARK.

Spark has also forged links with Winya, an indigenous furniture business.

Winya is committed to social procurement and provides training, jobs and opportunities to indigenous people across the country.

The enterprise is also dedicated to sustainability, recycling wood from mining sites, acquiring fabric from women’s art centres and collaborating with Indigenous artists to infuse traditional designs into contemporary furniture.

They also run a project for Indigenous prisoners to build skills and create better communities.

Winya supplied the furniture for Spark’s newly opened  ‘The Link’ headquarters in Heidelberg.

To find out more about Spark, email: inclusivejobs@sparknel-dc.com.au