Award-winning Supply Nation certified Indigenous metal manufacturing and construction company, Bridgeman, is leveraging its success to support smaller Indigenous companies.
Founded in 1997, the Queensland company has now been a Supply Nation certified Indigenous business for 2½ years, and in that time has increased its Indigenous employees from 2 per cent to 12 per cent of its workforce.
It’s also created the “Yarning Circle” a unique Indigenous supply chain network.
“We work alongside them to upskill those smaller companies,” Managing Director, Adam Sarota said.
“We’re in a position that we’re working with Tier One companies, identified through ICN, so we can now mentor others.”
Adam pointed to an example on a current project in Roma, where 33 per cent of the project scope is being done by Indigenous contractors.
“We’re working with a local Indigenous company, on their capability uplift. They had limited compliance documentation, they’ve never had to supply this information for previous smaller projects.”
The company is subcontracting to Bridgeman on the project, and Bridgeman is helping them develop their safety and compliance documents. Working on the Roma project has allowed the Indigenous business to employ more people and grow as a company. Without Bridgeman’s assistance and mentoring, they would not have been able to work on a project of this size.
Adam said that by ICN introducing Bridgeman to the Tier One companies, there is a flow-on effect.
“As a company, we have learned a lot over the past 26 years and we now pass that down on to smaller Indigenous companies, which empowers them and gives them the tools to go for government jobs, things that they couldn’t have ever done before.”
The company recently won Weld Australia’s Indigenous Company of the Year in the Queensland and Northern Territory Welding Excellence Awards.
Bridgeman Managing Director, Adam Sarota, a proud Traditional Owner and Yidinji man and former Socceroo recognises that social conscience is synonymous with success.
The Yarning Circle complements the company’s other programs that support the Indigenous community:
- One Mob Initiative: Developed to engage and provide positive educational and work experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Bridging the Gap: Mentoring and supporting Indigenous and non-Indigenous high school students through the transiting to work. It offers post-school pathways and gives kids inspiration and drive to success in the real world. The program aims to close the gap of intergenerational welfare and long-term unemployment.
- Futures Program: Apprentices and trainees work alongside qualified tradespeople who assist with on-the-job training. This gives them the opportunity to build new skills and experience in a hands-on learning environment. Bridgeman currently employs 15 apprentices.
- Women in Construction Pathway: Providing and creating career opportunities to boost female participation within the construction industry.
As an ICN Premium subscriber, Bridgeman uses ICN Gateway as part of its business development tools.
“We include them in our project planning and forecasting,” Adam said, adding that Bridgeman can help Tier One companies exceed their mandatory Indigenous, and apprentice, hours.
As part of this planning, the company recently submitted expressions of interest via ICN Gateway in more than 20 projects including:
- North QLD Mid Term Refresh
- Eva Copper projects
- Inland Rail
- Sydney Metro
- Walla Walla Solar Farm
- Powerhouse Parramatta
- Great Western Highway
- Sydney Metro – general
For more information about the company, go to the Bridgeman website.