Aurukun celebrates graduation and employment of 11 trainees

by | Dec 10, 2014 | Uncategorized

Aurukun Shire Council has teamed up with Far North Queensland construction company and training provider MiHaven to help Aurukun residents gain full-time employment and apprenticeships.

Eleven (11) local Aurukun community members were recognised at a special graduation ceremony yesterday (9 December) after completing MiHaven’s MiLife Change program, which supports unemployed Indigenous people into long-term sustainable employment in the construction industry.

Six of these graduates have successfully completed a Certificate II in Construction, and have received the ultimate prize of full-time employment and an apprenticeship in carpentry.

The star trainees are David Marpoondin, Edmund Woolla, Francis Woolla, Gavin Korkatain, Russell Woolla, and one young local lady, Caitlin Walpo.

The six apprentices will be working with MiHaven and the Council on building another five new homes in Aurukun over the next six months.

Aurukun Shire Council Mayor Dereck Walpo said the council engaged MiHaven to get more local residents into work, and was delighted with the outcome of the program.

“It is great to see so many of our own local Aurukun people benefitting from this opportunity,” said Mayor Walpo.

“We’ve already seen new homes going up over the past few months, and we still have an extremely busy work program ahead of us, which is superb news for our community.

“We’d especially like to thank James Mort and Sarah Mort from MiHaven for the success of this program, and our congratulations go to all the graduates.”

James Mort, Director of MiHaven, who trained and mentored the group, said he was excited about the apprentices’ graduation.

“It is a momentous occasion for all of us and a dream come true following a pledge my company made with the Mayor and the Council over two years ago that we could develop in partnership an opportunity for Aurukun people to be trained in construction to build their own housing,” said Mr Mort.

The graduation ceremony, held outside Aurukun Shire Council’s offices, also celebrated the success of other trainees who have successfully completed accredited training in Construction and Retail.

These are Andrew Peemunggina, Eduwano Woolla and Leonard Woolla Pootchemunka, who will be receiving a Statement of Attainment in Construction, and Jessie Woolla and Kathy Marpoondin, who will receive a Statement of Attainment in Retail.

While training with MiHaven, Jessie and Kathy have been working at the MiHaven Workers Camp.

Mr Mort also thanked the many other people in the community and other support partners including Cape York Enterprises and MEGT, and in particular the Elders Advisory Group that Mr Mort initiated with program mentor Douglas Ahlers and MiHaven mentor Sam Backo.

“The Elders Advisory Group has been pivotal in providing the grass roots community support to the trainees, making them realise the importance of this opportunity of committing to the training program and having at the end a full-time job and career,” Mr Mort added.

MiHaven directors, Sarah and James Mort said the results of their latest MiLife Change program are a feather in the cap for the Aurukun community and the trainees who have together achieved the best possible outcome – training for employment.

Bernie McCarthy, CEO of Aurukun Shire Council, said the Council values its relationship with MiHaven.

“We have identified positive, long-term change in the trainees that have undertaken this program that is culturally appropriate and holistic in its approach,” said Mr McCarthy.

MiHaven’s MiLife Change Program is jointly funded by the Australian Government and the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment.

For more details about MiHaven, visit