Seymour Whyte and Boomerang: Building pathways to careers in construction

Certificate II student Bree Dargan on Port Drive Upgrade site
Bree Dargan is completing a Certificate II in Resources and Infrastructure and says her work experience with Seymour Whyte has been of great benefit.


Seymour Whyte Constructions and Indigenous civil construction training company Boomerang Training Solutions’ partnership paid off with two successful work placements on the Port of Brisbane’s Port Drive Upgrade project.

The Project Manager for Port Drive Upgrade Andrew Hammill said it all began with Seymour Whyte giving Boomerang’s Certificate II students a presentation on the construction industry, which led to the offer of a visit to the Port Drive Upgrade project site.

“The project team met the Boomerang students during the visit and were impressed. They were a good group and very keen,” he said. “I’m pleased to say we were able to offer two of the students, Bree Dargan and Emma Waters, four weeks of work experience. They both experienced ‘real construction’ on a busy site and the project benefited from their contributions to the delivery of the works.”

Boomerang Training Solutions Managing Director Chris Whitfield said it was his company’s mission to take Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island youth and jobseekers from training through to employment. “We look for companies who share this common goal and were really fortunate to get support from Seymour Whyte for our latest course.”

Mr Whitfield said the two students selected for work placements were appreciative of the overall experience and were encouraged by the support they received from the Seymour Whyte project team, who helped the students find their career preferences by enabling them to try different activities and tasks at site.

“This work experience has boosted their confidence in the construction industry and taken their learning beyond their expectations. I truly commend Seymour Whyte for opening this pathway.”

Bree Dargan and Emma Waters agreed that their work experience on Port Drive Upgrade with Seymour Whyte was of great benefit.

Ms Dargan is completing a Certificate II in Resources and Infrastructure through Boomerang Training Solutions, whom she commended for providing a supportive learning environment and their willingness to help their students succeed. “During my placement with Seymour Whyte Constructions, I have seen firsthand the collective overview of work that is done onsite by the different departments, and the day-to-day process and progress of the project,” she said.

“Through the placement, I have learned about basic labouring skills, tools, mobile plant, trucks, materials, structures and the role of a spotter. I also got to experience water testing with the Environmental Department to ensure the waterways near the Project are not adversely affected. The Seymour Whyte employees/contractors have made my work experience enjoyable and have been supportive in my learning about civil construction.”

Ms Waters revealed that she has previous construction experience, having done different laboring jobs prior to taking up the certificate II. She said her studies had highlighted the importance of safety, quality and environment in completing the projects correctly and also to winning future work.

She said her work experience had taught her the importance of good communication and teamwork in the workplace. “My time on site has been a great opportunity to learn some of the processes and to look and understand the big picture of what is going on around you in a very busy industry. I have also enjoyed working outdoors and the physical side of the job.”

Having completed their work experience on the Port Drive Upgrade project, what lies ahead for the students?

“After I have completed the course, I would like to gain more experience and learn how to operate mobile plant. There are many pathways in construction, and at the moment I am working out what area I would like to specialise in,” Ms Dargan said. “The course and placement has been a wonderful experience for me, and I would suggest to anyone that is interested in construction to try a Certificate II/Work Ready Program, have a go and work hard—it may be the stepping stone to a rewarding, challenging and long-term career in the construction industry.”

Ms Waters agreed. “There is so much to learn and so many opportunities, you just have to get in and have a go. If you don’t like one aspect you can try another. There are many support networks too that assist you to learn and develop and provide support just like Boomerang Training Solutions,” she said. “I would like to pursue a career in civil but it’s a bit early to tell as I will need to work out where I fit in. But I know that a role as a construction worker can lead on to other things. I would like to be a good role model for younger indigenous students.”

Mr Whitfield said Boomerang Training Solutions’ students came from different industries or wanted to increase their employability in the building and construction job market so they enjoyed the Certificate II in Resources and Infrastructure because it gave them a hands-on learning environment.

“We deliver our course in a manner that suits their learning needs using a few techniques that we know works,” he said. “We have maintained very high retention rates in Queensland because we understand our students. Our training delivery is Indigenous focussed with Indigenous trainers for our entry level programs.”

Seymour Whyte Constructions enjoyed working with the students and giving them exposure to the civil construction site environment, and will partner with Boomerang Training Solutions on further training opportunities.

Certificate II student Emma Waters on Port Drive Upgrade site
Emma Waters’ work experience with Seymour Whyte has taught her the importance of good communication and teamwork in the workplace.