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Learning Circle a local cultural connection
WESTERN Sydney International Airport (WSI) and its contractor AeroWest have opened a traditional Aboriginal learning circle.
The learning circle was constructed by First Nations employees from AeroWest, using materials donated by local Western Sydney business, Hytec Concrete.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Western Sydney schools helped to open the circle, learning about the cultural significance of the yidaki, the traditional name for the didgeridoo, discovering the process for making fire from traditional materials and stencilling their hands onto the concrete.
The students were then taken on a tour of the airport construction site, learning about future jobs on site and what the new airport will do for the region.
Katy Hannouch, General Manager – Community Engagement and Social Impact at Western Sydney International Airport has been working with the team at AeroWest to launch WSI’s ‘First Nations Taking Off’ program.
“The aim of the program is to teach local First Nations young people about the opportunities the airport will create and how they can get the skills needed to succeed in the multiple industries that will be a part of WSI,”, said Ms Hannouch.
“Overall, the program is committed to fostering connections between First Nations young people and First Nations employees across the project, as well as to provide the support and guidance needed to succeed in their chosen career paths.”
Karlene Rex, Aboriginal Education Officer at Plumpton High School said: “A big thank you to Western Sydney International Airport for your strong focus & connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Our students on the day felt a strong connection to their culture in creating the Yarning Circle for generations to come. 
“This has provided an opportunity for our students to be able to tell stories to their mob about their experiences held during Reconciliation Week in 2023 and also provides our young people with the opportunity to see what jobs are available to them in the Construction industry once they have completed their schooling.”
Plumpton High School student, Ethan Hawke said: “it was a great experience to see the opportunities that are there for me and where I would like to go in the future. The workers were very informative and easy to talk to. They cared enough to listen about what I want to do and where I would like to go in the future, as well as telling me the jobs they have available regarding electrical engineering, which is what I would like to do.”
Katy Hannouch said Western Sydney International Airport is already establishing strong engagement with local and First Nations people and businesses.
“Today there are over 3,000 people working in the peak construction phase, 50% of whom live in Western Sydney,” Ms Hannouch said.
“The airport project currently has more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working on the team.
“Over $400M has been spent with around 250 Western Sydney-based businesses since the start of works in 2017 and First Nations businesses account for over 10% of contracts across the total airport project.”


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Access News is a print and digital media publisher established over 15 years and based in Western Sydney, Australia. Our newspaper titles include the flagship publication, Western Sydney Express, which is a trusted source of information and for hundreds of thousands of decision makers, businesspeople and residents looking for insights into the people, projects, opportunities and networks that shape Australia's fastest growing region - Greater Western Sydney.