Everyone has a role to play in Reconciliation and a responsibility to contribute towards Closing the Gap. Here at WSP Australia we take both our role and our responsibility seriously.
Our vision for reconciliation is for WSP Australia to contribute positively towards closing the gap between the health and life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians. We believe that reconciliation will enhance our business and ultimately serve to create a sustainable, vibrant and connected future for all Australians.
Our 2016-2018 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is based on the three tenets of relationships, respect and opportunities. Our focus is on:
- Building relationships with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations and businesses across the country
- Building respect and understanding through cultural awareness activities in each of our Australian offices
- Creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be employed across our business.
- Increasing our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporate supplier diversity.
- Working with our clients to increase opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate within their organisations and projects.
As the number of Indigenous Australian engineers is currently still limited, our actions are targeted at providing pre-employment opportunities for high school students, encouraging them to pursue qualifications and pathways to employment in our industry.
The Science and Infrastructure Development (SID) Winter School
The Queensland University of Technology's Oodergoo Unit and WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff co- founded the Science and Infrastructure Development (SID) Winter School in 2013.
Held in Brisbane each July, the SID Winter School aims to increase access and participation in higher education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students by 'demystifying' university and providing first-hand information about the variety of courses, careers and pathways that are available to them.
During a five-day residential program, the students take part in hands-on activities and site visits. For example, at the WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff office in Brisbane the activities include creating the built form, fire engineering, forensic investigations in our hazmat lab and 'my story' – where two professionals share their stories about how they have established their career.
The SID Winter School program also helps the high school students to foster connections with other Indigenous Australians studying at university and with industry professionals. Both of these groups can support and mentor them on their career path.
The Indigenous Australian Engineering Summer Schools
We have been a proud sponsor of the Indigenous Australian Engineering Summer Schools since their inception in 1997 by Engineering Aid Australia. Now held in two locations – Perth and Sydney – the Summer Schools give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from around Australia the opportunity to experience engineering studies and careers.
The Year 11 and 12 students gain a taste of what engineering is all about – both as a university course and as a career.
The students get hands-on with engineering challenges and activities within the engineering faculties. They tour infrastructure project sites and companies to see engineering in action and network with engineers to gain personal stories and perspectives about their projects and the profession.
Keeping an eye on the students is an inspiring group of Indigenous Australian engineers and mentors. These are people who know how it feels to question whether they could ever become an engineer, let alone get into university. Through their own Summer School experience they gained the confidence to complete their studies and pursue engineering careers.