Future indigenous engineers learn from NorthConnex project

GREAT ACCESS: Students in the Galuwa Program got to see NorthConnex staff work on building the tunnel that will connect the M1 and M2.
GREAT ACCESS: Students in the Galuwa Program got to see NorthConnex staff work on building the tunnel that will connect the M1 and M2.

ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander high school students had the opportunity to get close look at their dream job when they toured the NorthConnex site at West Pennant Hills.

The students are part of University of Technology Sydney’s Galuwa Program, which is for students who want to work in the engineering or IT industry.

Young engineers who are working on NorthConnex offered the 24 students an insight into their career, and the students also got an insider’s look at the project’s southern compound.

UTS indigenous pathways and outreach coordinator Kaleena Smith said it was an invaluable experience for the students.

The indigenous students travelled from all over Australia to be part of the Galuwa Program during the July school holidays.

 “Galuwa means 'to climb' in the Gadigal language, and that's exactly what we want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students to do,” she said.

“The five day program features interactive hands-on workshops, site visits with industry partners, cultural activities and information about career paths.

“Participants also hear inspirational talks from students, cadets and professionals.

“Lendlease is a key industry partner of the Galuwa program and this year organised for the 24 students as well as staff to visit NorthConnex in partnership with the project’s education program.”

Lendlease Bouygues Joint Venture is currently in the process of building Northconnex.

Project director Tim Orpen said he wants to encourage more indigenous people to pursue a job in engineering.

“NorthConnex is a complex project requiring significant engineering support and technical advice to excavate and build the tunnels and surface road connections,” Mr Orpen said.

“With a daily workforce of up to 2000, we offer many career and learning opportunities essential for developing the next generation of tunnellers, engineers and project managers.

“Hosting the Galuwa students was an excellent opportunity to share our knowledge of the industry and encourage interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”