Damien Williams, Mathew Adams, Roderick Cameron and Evan Costello are instructed by Mal Sleeman on chainsaw maintenance and safety.
Damien Williams, Mathew Adams, Roderick Cameron and Evan Costello are instructed by Mal Sleeman on chainsaw maintenance and safety. Photo supplied

Woorabinda men learn new skills

STEVEN Kemp has been waiting 20 years to see young people trained with skills they can use on Woorabinda’s Aboriginal-owned properties.

His dreams are coming true with nine men set to graduate from on-farm training delivered by the Australian Agricultural College on Foley Vale property.

Aged between 17 and 30, these trainees are doing work that will allow them to work nationwide.

Mr Kemp and two other Indigenous leaders are on hand to help with cultural sharing and training.

“Once the boys are out here the shame fades away because they are learning how worthwhile they are, so they open up,” he said.

“We have seen such a big change in the attitude of these fellas, we gee them up and help teach work ethic and we are learning from them too.

“This is the first time in history it has worked out and we are going to keep it going; I have been waiting 20 years for this.”

Agricultural college instructors Mel Sleeman and John Howe are delivering practical and theory training including cattle work, fencing and watering livestock.

Mr Kemp said there would be several from the group who would be offered work after graduation and the qualification would be recognised nation-wide.

“Almost each one of these boys can trace back a relative who has worked on one of the Woorabinda properties, so there is a huge amount of pride that they are making their mark here,” he said.



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