Indigenous owned organisation SupplyAus has partnered with the Cryogenics Group to launch a new job-ready program, Paint for a Pathway and shared Indigenous workspace, Indigenous Business Precinct in Brisbane.

Consulting with the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) and Major Training Group, the organisation established the commercial painting training program to give candidates real work experience in the industry.

Opening the new Indigenous Business Precinct last week, where the program will be held, Paint for a Pathway’s pilot program candidates had the opportunity to paint the new building while receiving mentoring about career opportunities.

The idea for the Precinct came about after SupplyAus CEO Adam Williams noticed a “real need” for more shared spaces in Brisbane, particularly Aboriginal shared spaces.

“There was nowhere you could base as your own that was a safe, black working space,” Mr Williams said.

After looking for ways to create this kind of space, SupplyAus and the Cryogenics Group decided to back themselves, find their own building, and create the Indigenous Business Precinct.

The multiuse space has training rooms for businesses to have product workshops and meet the buyer nights, hot desks and individual offices, an official board room for important meetings, as well as a facility for children so parents can comfortably bring their kids to work when and if they need to.

“Everybody feels safe that they can bring their kids to work,” Mr Williams said.

“We don’t have a problem with them coming into work. We think it’s a good idea that they can learn from us, that they can learn a good work ethic and they know you’ve got to go to work.”


Celebrating Indigenous businesspeople

The Wiradjuri man said it’s important to provide work experience and training opportunities like those offered by Paint for a Pathway as there is still hesitation within communities to “give it a go.”

“Most of the kids we had a yarn to [that visited] … none of them have that they’re Indigenous on their resume,” Mr Williams said.

Mr Williams said that he himself was guilty of the same exclusion, acknowledging that putting his background would mean being overlooked for an interview let alone a promotion.

“I think times are changing … we still hold back a little bit in celebrating our success as awesome businesspeople,” Mr Williams said.

“Art and sport [are not] our only avenues to being successful. We can be accountants, we can be lawyers, we can run construction businesses, we can do whatever.”

Mr Williams said of the five candidates that completed Paint for a Pathway, four have been placed into traineeships with external companies.

Program participant Thomas Coghill said completing the program gave him “the oomph to keep going” in his job search.

“Some people get stuck in that rut. From a jobseeker’s perspective … we’re usually forced to jump through all these hoops,” Mr Coghill.

“[These kinds of programs are] breaking that cycle of being comfortable in that rut.”

Mr Coghill said the program reinforced that he still has what it takes to get out into the workforce.

At the moment, Mr Coghill is looking to start an apprenticeship, preferably with painting or in construction as he knows those industries will always be there.