With the unemployment rate for Indigenous Australians at 19 per cent – almost four times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians – one Melbourne-based building maintenance and refurbishment company saw an opportunity to support young Indigenous Australians looking to enter the sector.
Born out of conversations during lockdown, iBuilt managing director Giovanni Greco said they saw an opportunity to give back to the community – by establishing a new company, iBuilt Group Indigenous Solutions.
“iBuilt Group Indigenous Solutions was founded to assist with employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders within the community. Our founding partner had a vision to assist the community and provide employment opportunities that weren’t there before, which we intend to broaden as the company grows,” Mr Greco told The Fifth Estate.
The aim was to create a company run by First Nations Peoples, for First Nations clients.
“Our main focus is to assist clients within the Indigenous community,” said Mr Greco.
Nathan Hook, a Warlpiri Garu man, joined the company as a labourer, and was mentored and trained to develop his leadership skills.
Now at the helm as the managing director of the new company, Mr Hook is working with recruitment company atWork to boost employment opportunities for Indigenous practitioners.
Three more Indigenous staff have already been brought on, and the company has set its sights on taking on more in the future.
It is now working with Aboriginal Housing to deliver 200-300 home refurbishments over the next two years.
“We may not get to 100 per cent [Indigenous staff], but we are there to employ and empower as many as we can, and through Aboriginal Housing we are looking at hiring, training and mentoring as many candidates as possible.”
The new company was recently awarded atWork Australia’s Indigenous Employer Award, Victoria, for 2022, and recently attended its first Supply Nation trade show where connections were made with potential clients who are already Supply Nation Certified.
Employment service provider atWork Australia’s role is to help them place more Indigenous Australian practitioners as the company grows into the future.
“We are so pleased to see Nathan thriving in his new role at iBuilt Group. This NAIDOC Week, we encourage all businesses to consider how they can support the careers of young Indigenous Australians in the workplace too,” Jason Scrivener, operations manager at atWork Australia Victoria said.
Mr Greco said he is excited for what’s to come.
“We’re really looking forward to the journey.”