If you’ve visited Lot Fourteen over the past three years, you might have been lucky enough to have encountered some of the happiest traffic management staff… and there’s a reason for this.
RAW Traffic Management (RTM), a 100 per cent First Nations owned and managed South Australian company, whose mission is to create a supportive culture – providing cultural security, economic independence and a real sense of belonging for its staff.
Contracted to provide traffic management services at Lot Fourteen since the early days of the project; this journey has not only helped the company significantly, but the lives of their staff assigned to the site to deliver the vital traffic management service, contributing significantly to the everyday safety of the district.
The opportunity to deliver this service at Lot Fourteen has enabled the company to train a number of First Nations men and women, providing a safe entry point to the business.
As a company, RTM believes everyone deserves a second chance; with a large pool of its workforce having encountered significant cultural barriers, troubled pasts and run-ins with the law, the company’s door is always open to give anyone a go.
And being able to offer their staff an opportunity to bring in their own wage, put a roof over their heads and look after their families is key to turning lives around and changing lives.
At Lot Fourteen, there are a number of staff who have done just that as part of the team; one of those being Johanna Kite, who has worked with RTM based at Lot Fourteen for 12 months.
Johanna can vouch for the life transforming opportunity RTM has offered her, having believed she’d never be offered work opportunities based upon her criminal past.
Three years ago a friend of Johanna’s, who was working for the company, encouraged Johanna to get her white card and traffic control tickets, and apply.
It wasn’t an easy road, but eventually Johanna found the confidence to make the call that literally changed her life, and the transformation is significant; an opportunity that has not only enabled Johanna to create stability for her children, but also create a sense of belonging.
An experience which Johanna fondly recalls of her time on the job at Lot Fourteen, was a day when a tenant purposefully came out of their building to have a yarn.
“To be acknowledged, made me feel like I was a part of something – that I wasn’t a ghost – something I’ve felt like my whole life. No one acknowledged me because of my skin colour. So to be acknowledged (at Lot Fourteen) by the workers and the local residents is great,” Johanna said.
“And to see our culture recognised, it’s made me open my eyes a lot more, and see what opportunities are out there for Aboriginal people; because three to five years ago I didn’t know any opportunities like this existed for Aboriginal people – I really thought I’d have no hope getting anywhere.”
A 24/7 mentoring service, as part of the company’s new Aboriginal Building and Civil Construction Academy, has been implemented to ensure all apprentices finish their apprenticeship; a key point of difference in the company’s offering. This group training arm currently works with a cohort of 22 apprentices.
One such civil construction apprentice is Walter Jackson.
Walter has been with the company, located at Lot Fourteen, for just over 12 months. He landed a three-year apprenticeship with them, having been at other sites prior to coming here, demonstrating great reliability.
The apprenticeship has provided Walter the opportunity to build his time management skills, arriving early and working 10 hours days on his feet.
Despite the long days, Walter says “… it’s a great opportunity, because a lot of people like myself (are) just leaving school, and to always have that extra hand there if you need it – it’s wicked.”
Not originally something Walter saw himself doing, with wanting to make the AFL being his focus; it was an opportunity he didn’t want to pass up. On finishing his three-year apprenticeship, Walter plans to either continue in the traffic management space or move into doing civil construction.
RTM have received feedback regarding the genuine service provided by the 13 traffic management staff employed by the company across the innovation district.
A simple smile from someone can change your day and keep you going. Walter says “… this is his motto and what they strive to do… making other people’s days happy.”
Johanna encourages anyone, in particular her First Nations community, to explore workplace opportunities.
“I’m able to share my experience, my hope, to let people know that there are opportunities out there,” Johanna said.
We thank Johanna and Walter for sharing their story, and for their service to the Lot Fourteen community.
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