NAIDOC week shines a light on the achievements, culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
For us at Symal, we’re so proud to be celebrating the success of our Indigenous civil contracting business, Wamarra, that was launched earlier this year. We’re privileged to have the opportunity to learn and hear from Managing Director Hayden Heta who today shared his success story with us over a morning tea in celebration of NAIDOC week.
Since starting the business in February this year, Wamarra has worked across a range of construction projects and sectors with Tier 1 and 2 contractors in and around Melbourne. The business has been awarded 21 projects and delivered 15 jobs to date, which during a pandemic, is an achievement Hayden is incredibly proud of and attributes to his hard-working team.
But for Hayden, the most rewarding aspect of starting his business is the direct impact it’s had on employment. “Our mandate is unambiguous. Our commitment is to provide meaningful careers to Aboriginal people. I take great pride in our employees’ ability to perform tasks from start to finish with high quality, both in performance and safety. I also get immense satisfaction seeing individuals purchasing their first home or a new car as a direct result of fulltime, sustainable employment and the financial independence that follows.” says Hayden.
Understanding social procurement and increasing participation of Aboriginal people in employment are hugely positive, but the pathways to these opportunities haven’t always been clear.
Together, Symal and Wamarra have forged a pathway for real change in the construction industry where Aboriginal people are not only accepted but can thrive.
At its core, Wamarra involves inspiring and motivating Aboriginal people to do and be more. Hayden believes that can only happen with support, training, development and mentorship.
“Wamarra is one platform for Aboriginal people to succeed and be empowered to learn, take risks, and have a crack at management roles. Let’s offer progressive and worthy pathways that change lives and families.” Says Hayden.
Starting Wamarra has given all of us at Symal a chance to learn from Hayden and the team.
“Wamarra has had a positive impact not only on individual careers but on our broader group, helping us win work and creating awareness. Our culture has shifted to being more inclusive and aware of the challenges faced by Aboriginal people,” says CEO Nabeel Sadaka.
We’ve successfully integrated Wamarra into the Symal family, bringing genuine skills that Symal didn’t have before.
We now have a carpentry team that has delivered 10 packages to date, self-performing concreting capability with completed works in a highly intense rail environment, plus developing drainage crews.
Hayden adds, “I want to share everything I have experienced and learnt and pass it on. Then we can continue to share, celebrate and embrace our cultural identity with the industry together.”
To learn more about NAIDOC week, check out the resources available on the NAIDOC website.
Celebrations across Australia are being held from the 8-15 November.