Indigenous dancers performing at the VentureSmart culture day

At Ventia we're proud of our commitment to indigenous participation, and this rings true at our Venture Smart JV with Johnson Controls. 

Venture Smart has a strong track record with its approach of "Buy local, Live Local", which also applies to Indigenous Participation. 

They're always looking for opportunities to engage more closely with the Indigenous community in WA, and what better way to come up with new ideas than asking the team for input! 

"We wanted to have real meaningful input from the Noongar people, as we do so much on the Noongar lands. It felt right to learn more about local culture from the locals. We wanted to do something different and drive real change," explains Safety Advisor Daron Andrews Safety Advisor.

We put the call out and through one of our own apprentices, now tradesmen, we were honored to be introduced to his "Pop" (grandfather) Neville Collard.

Noongar Elder Neville Collard at the VentureSmart culture day

Noongar Elder, Uncle Nev generously shared his time and wisdom with the Venture Smart team at the Indigenous cultural event.


A day of sharing

Uncle Nev is a respected and well-known Noongar Elder. He was generous with his time, knowledge and support as our Venture Smart team held a day of sharing where employees interacted and learned about indigenous culture with the aim furthering Indigenous cultural awareness.

Indigenous culture relies on knowledge sharing and like Chair of the Get Up! Board, Carla McGrath once reflected that 'Many hands make light work'.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long had a collaborative approach, with collective governance and decision-making being at the heart of their societal structures since the beginning.

"Being involved in sessions like this always teaches me more about culture and I look forward to being involved in many more", says Chris Foster the Delivery Manager Electrical Metropolitan Region, MRWA.

To see the engagement of all the staff by Noongar Elder Nev Collard at the Indigenous Cultural Event was fantastic.  

The VentureSmart team engaged in painting at the Culture day

The Venture Smart team were keen to engage in a lesson in rock art.


Learning and opening up important discussions

After the welcome to country and smoking ceremony, the learning began with baking damper and kangaroo stew, a lesson in rock art and tool making and plenty of storytelling.

High school students from Wesley College shared a traditional song and dance to mark the occasion.  With this being their second visit, Venture Smart has built a close relationship with the local school, with a mentoring relationship program about to begin later this month. 

The "roo" stew and damper may have taken hours to cook but it was all devoured in minutes. Venture Smart Project Director Mick O'Bradaigh said the art and tool making were a great hit, opening up some important discussions. 

It was a fantastic afternoon from which nearly everyone would have learnt something new.

"Many of the attendees took home a deeper appreciation of our Indigenous culture," Mick said.

A huge thanks to Nev Collard and his mob for helping us to put on such an event.

The VentureSmart team at the Indigenous cultural event

The Venture Smart team learned something new about Indigenous culture and had a great afternoon at the event.


Top image: High school students from Wesley College shared a traditional song and dance. Venture Smart has built a close relationship with the school and a mentoring program is about to begin later this month.