General Manager Gary Murphy welcomes new trainees (l-r) Kyeoma Caldwell, Jaihana Roberts and Bindjarla Cook.
General Manager Gary Murphy welcomes new trainees (l-r) Kyeoma Caldwell, Jaihana Roberts and Bindjarla Cook.

Lismore council job is first step towards bright future

BINDJARLA COOK wants to be Prime Minister - but he's willing to start small.

The 16-year-old, who says he's "always wanted that job", has taken his first step in his aspiration to lead the nation with a school-based traineeship with Lismore City Council.

Mr Cook is one of three new Aboriginal school-based trainees who have started working for the council.

Mr Cook is currently working in the Human Resources department while fellow Alstonville High student Kyeoma Caldwell and Ballina High student Jaihana Roberts are both with Richmond Tweed Regional Library.

"I saw this as a good opportunity as I have those political aspirations," Bindjarla said. "I've always wanted to do business or politics and Council offers the chance to experience both so it's just excellent.

"I've always been interested in equality and I've always wanted that in school so everyone's on the same playing field. As the Prime Minister I could really push equality for all."

Meanwhile, 26-year-old Aboriginal trainee Joe Gordon has started his first day of full-time work with Lismore City Council as a customer support officer after completing a 12-month traineeship.

The new appointments help fulfill the charter of the council's recently adopted Reconciliation Action Plan to increase the number of Aboriginal people it employs.

The action plan is based around the idea that more employment opportunities are a key driver in helping to actively 'close the gap' in Aboriginal communities.

Lismore City Council already has 14 Aboriginal employees and the council says the appointment of Mr Gordon and the three school-based trainees is another important step in realising more Aboriginal jobs.

The school-based traineeships are funded through the Elsa Dixon Aboriginal Employment Program (funded by the Department of Education and Communities).



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