Earlier this year
Laing O’Rourke played host to the 2018 cohort of the Engineering Aid Australia’s
(EAA) Indigenous Australian Summer School at the University of Sydney.
Hailing from all
across Australia, Laing O’Rourke welcomed Indigenous students from years 9
through 12 to Sydney where they enjoyed a full day of engineering and
construction related activities.
entered into a partnership with Engineering Aid Australia last year to support
their Indigenous Australian Engineering Summer School (IAESS) programme and
encourage more Indigenous students to consider a career in the industry.
EAA is a
non-profit organisation which aims to encourage young Indigenous people to
consider tertiary studies and a possible career in engineering. They hold two
week-long summer school programs each January, with approximately 20 Indigenous
students from around Australia attending at no cost to themselves.
Rob Timbrell from
Laing O’Rourke’s Human Capital team leads the company’s relationship with EAA
and said it reflected the importance of engaging with local communities.
of the Indigenous communities the confidence and resources to pursue their
goals is valuable not only to the diversity of our company, but to empowering
Indigenous groups,” Rod said.
individuals bring a unique experience about the needs of their own communities
to our industry, allowing us to bridge a gap in cultural understanding and
build stronger relationships with local communities around our projects.”
The students were
able to experience Laing O’Rourke’s Demolition Project of the Blackburn
Building for the University of Sydney. The six-storey building was built in the
1930s, providing a link between the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the
University of Sydney’s Health and medical faculties. It is being demolished to
make way for construction of the new Susan Wakil Health building, due to
commence in the coming months.
The day kicked
off with some project-related trivia. They then visited the construction site
to check out some demolition activities, including the tree removal, services
disconnections and diversions, strip out, hazardous materials removal and
demolition of the Blackburn Building and adjacent one-storey Dangerous Goods
Store. Afterwards, they got to experience the project through Laing O’Rourke’s
unique virtual and augmented reality tools.
Project Director Elliot Howse, who hosted the students on site, said the
project team was delighted to showcase their work to the students.
“It was a
fantastic opportunity to showcase Laing O’Rourke’s experience and expertise and
I look forward to welcoming some of the students onto our graduate program in a
few years’ time.”
will continue to support the programme, with a number of Project Engineers
volunteering to mentor the students and continue to encourage them to consider
engineering as a career.
EAA was formed in
1995 by the late Jeff Dobell, with the launch of the first IAESS in 1998. The
programme was run in response to the shocking fact that, at the time, only one
Indigenous engineer had graduated during the entire 85-year history of the
faculty. Now, more
than 600 Indigenous teens have been through the programme and many have
continued on to become engineers.
a participant in the programme, shared how life-changing the experience was.
“I attended the
IAESS camp as a year 11 student, and at the time I didn’t know much about
engineering, nor did I think I had what it took to make it into an engineering.
The Aboriginal camp supervisors who were engineers had stories very similar to
mine, and they showed me that you can achieve a lot with persistence and
“I’m now an
environmental engineer and I’m extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to
attend IAESS. My current role requires me to manage sites that are culturally
significant for Aboriginal people and also those that have an important
colonial history. This work is extremely satisfying and I’m honoured that I
have an opportunity to contribute to such an important project for our people.”
involvement with Engineering Aid Australia is part of the organisation’s
commitment to improve the diversity of our workforce and is a wonderful step
towards creating more opportunities for stories like Ezra’s.
To find out more
about the programme or to get involved, visit the EAA website.