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Tradesman wearing a high vis yellow shirt and hard hats from construction company McMahons servicing machinery.

Following successful delivery of 12 work experience places and two paid employment opportunities by McMahon Services as part of the economic commitment clause in its $50 million Stage 1 demolition contract at Lot Fourteen, the Works Program partnered with the local, family-owned business on the McMahon Services Demolition Pre-employment program.

The four-week program, believed to be the first of its kind in South Australia, allowed participants to gain experience working on demolition sites (including Lot Fourteen and the WEST development at the former Football Park) and achieve nationally accredited units from the Certificate III in Demolition.

At their graduation on Monday 25 March, held in The Chapel at Lot Fourteen, thirteen of the young graduates were accompanied by family, friends and partners, in addition to Minister for Industry and Skills, The Hon David Pisoni, McMahon Services Managing Director, David McMahon, and acting Renewal SA Chief Executive, Mark Devine.

Mark recognised the important contribution the Works Program makes to the state government’s target of generating 20,800 traineeships and apprenticeships in SA over the next four years. He also acknowledged the importance of including economic commitment clauses in Renewal SA-managed contracts to maximise the economic development, community participation and social inclusion benefits of our urban renewal projects, such as Lot Fourteen, in developing skilled people and jobs for South Australians.

Minister Pisoni described the program as ‘a wonderful example’ of two state government agencies working collaboratively to deliver an innovative training and employment initiative through economic development supported by Skilling South Australia funding.

McMahon Services Managing Director, David McMahon, acknowledged the value of partnering with Renewal SA on the demolition pre-employment program in allowing the business to address its workforce needs, while giving back to the community and aligning with government objectives to increase traineeships in SA.

Paul Hetmanska, trainer and facilitator of registered training organisation FreshAir East Coast thanked Renewal SA and McMahon Services for the opportunity to be involved in the program, and commended the participants on their attitude, enthusiasm and commitment – including a 100 per cent attendance rate at training.

Below: participants undertake supervised work experience at Lot Fourteen. Click to enlarge images.

It was perhaps most meaningful to hear from the participants themselves, with both Tyrone Brannon and Anthony Jones articulately outlining their experiences, including some things that were unexpected.

As someone who didn’t enjoy the school-based environment, Tyrone was surprised to enjoy the classroom experience, suggesting it was Paul Hetmanska’s delivery, but perhaps it was because as Tyrone noted: “Demolition is something I have wanted to do for many years and I can proudly say I want to continue that dream of mine.”

“Overall this experience is definitely one to remember and I’m keen to see what the future holds for not just myself but all of us.” – Tyrone Brannon

Anthony said of the work experience component, “Experiencing what it was like being at a demolition site showed me that it isn't all just bashing walls or blowing things up – it’s more than that. It's about preparation, planning and most of all ensuring the safety of the workers… it gave me an insight that it's essential not just for the company but the team as well.”

Training and Employment Initiatives Manager, Sam Wilson, congratulated the participants on their achievement, and reminded them of the career pathways and opportunities successful completion of the program has the potential to provide.

Also present at the graduation ceremony were John Briggs, the general manager of Indigenous contractor Intract (which also partnered on the program), and Ja Turnbull of trainee and apprentice recruiter, MEGT, who was keen to meet the newly skilled graduates.

Eight graduates will now be selected to continue employment with McMahon Services while completing a Certificate III in Demolition traineeship, with the lucky participants being notified of selection by early next week.

Below: participants' achievements were celebrated at a 25 March 2019 graduation ceremony at Lot Fourteen. Click to enlarge images.

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