07 July 2022

Alcoa and Waalitj partner to build employment and business capacity

Media Release Waalitj and Alcoa 1
(L to R): Waalitj Foundation’s Troy Cook and Alan Cransberg, Alcoa’s Rosa M. García Piñeiro and Sonya Elam Harden; Waalitj Foundation’s Lisa Cunningham and Alcoa’s Michael Gollschewski.

Significant investment will be made towards First Nation’s empowerment in the Kwinana, Peel and Upper South-West region of Western Australia thanks to an extended partnership between the Alcoa Foundation and Waalitj Foundation.

Alcoa Foundation President Rosa Garcia Pineiro announced that the global charity would inject about another $655,000 (USD450,000) into Waalitj Foundation’s employment and business support programs in these areas over the next three years.

That takes the Alcoa Foundation’s investment in the delivery of these programs in the southwest of the state to about $850,000 (USD600,000) since 2021.

Ms Garcia Pineiro made the announcement at a NAIDOC Week morning tea at the Waalitj Hub in Burswood attended by key stakeholders from the Waalitj Foundation, Alcoa Foundation and Alcoa.

Waalitj Foundation and the Alcoa Foundation partnership started last year with the aim of boosting business opportunities for First Nations Australians in areas where Alcoa operates its bauxite mines and alumina refineries in WA. That was extended this year to include boosting opportunities for employment.

To date, the partnership has supported the delivery of 7 regional Waalitj Hub business events, building the capacity and connections of existing and emerging First Nations businesses. So far, 45 First Nations businesses have been provided with support through the hubs and follow up training and support offered. At least 3 have secured work as a result.

The partnership has also delivered in 27 Plan 2 Day 4 Tomorrow (P242) pre-employment sessions in these areas. So far, 53 First Nations people have been supported through mentoring and upskilling. At least 14 have secured employment as a result.

The further investment announced by the Alcoa Foundation will allow these programs to continue to be delivered in a targeted way across the Kwinana, Peel and Upper South-West regions until the end of 2025.

This will result in at least another 18 business hubs, over 300 hours of dedicated business coaching and support, 243 pre-employment sessions, and 4,500 hours of employment mentoring and upskilling including supporting people to get their drivers’ licence.

Ms Garcia Pineiro said the partnership was a great fit with the charity’s mission of investing where Alcoa had a presence to help address local needs and support equity and skills building.

“We are proud to continue to work with the Waalitj Foundation to help address the significant gap in the employment rate of Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people along with the under-representation of Indigenous Australians in business ownership,” Ms Pineiro said.

“The power of employment and business ownership are well recognised in addressing socio economic inequity.”

Waalitj Foundation Chairman Alan Cransberg said the advancement of this partnership was built on the strength and success of the programs that were currently delivered with the support of the Alcoa Foundation.

“The Waalitj Foundation’s success and significant growth is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the staff that deliver our programs,” Mr Cransberg said.

“Partnering with the Alcoa Foundation ensures that we can continue to achieve the best possible outcomes for our participants across employment and business opportunities.”