Home Sydney The youth of the first nations in Albury-Wadonga enjoy construction work in...

The youth of the first nations in Albury-Wadonga enjoy construction work in the country


When the mullah woman Emily Patten graduated from high school, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.

She started Certificate III in Education Support, but knew it wasn’t for her.

“I really didn’t know where to go,” Ms. Patten said.

“I worked at Woolworths for over a year. I knew I wanted to do something bigger, but I wasn’t sure where to go and how to get there. ”

But she started talking to Aunt Valda Murray at the Burraj Cultural Center, where the idea came from.

Aunt Walda directed her to a man named Jeb Hutchison.

Mr Hutchison, a proud man from Wiradjuri, is the head of TVN On-Country, heading a commercial construction company with a majority indigenous population based in Wadonza.

Ms. Patten is going to university after completing an internship at TVN.(ABC News: Ekaterina Smyrk)

The business offered internships to young people from the first nations, showing them the ropes of the industry.

For the past year, Ms. Patten has studied business administration at TVN.

Now she is going to go to university to study construction.

Seeing Ms. Patten’s success, she encouraged Mr. Hutchison to do what he really wanted to do – change the lives of young people of the first nations.

He has now launched On-Country Pathways, a new nonprofit organization owned and operated by Indigenous people that will offer young first-graders jobs and career paths in the commercial construction industry.

Vision of the country

Mr. Hutchison created TVN On-Country with two friends, Jonathan Whelan and Gareth Vannoort, four and a half years ago.

“Opportunities are everything in life. I was given as a child and now I try to give young people as much as I can,” Mr Hutchison said.

TVN offered some internships to young people such as Ms. Patten. But now it’s the official part of the business.

A young woman stands between two men in identical gray jackets on the street in the garden.
Mr. Hutchison, Ms. Patten and Mr. Moffitt are part of On-Country Pathways.(ABC News: Ekaterina Smyrk)

The On-Country Pathways program had several levels: work experience for those still in school; an internship where young people will receive a Certificate III in Business Administration; entry-level employment program; and a cadet program where businesses will pay the candidate for work and study.

Program manager and proud Bidjigal man Darren Moffitt explained that they will use TVN’s extensive contacts in the industry to help find opportunities, and work with high schools, TAFE and universities to promote the program among young people.


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