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Environment team provides culturally specific jobs and training
The Barkindji Maraura Elders Environment Team (BMEET) has made a real difference in the Dareton region of Western NSW by providing culturally appropriate training and employment in traditional natural resource management of country.
Dameion Kennedy, a local Barkindji man who is the Programs Manager at BMEET, said their work has enriched the community.
“To keep people employed, and to give us the opportunity to employ other people in the community is invaluable,” Dameion said.
“It’s really important for people to have an opportunity to work.”
BMEET have two projects funded through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
The Better Education and Employment Pathways (BEEP) focuses on increasing school attendance by running a number of school-based cultural programs and work experience programs in the Dareton region.
And the River Rangers program is improving the scientific and technical skill base of work teams to enable sustainable management of country, using both contemporary and traditional practices.
BMEET has not only changed the lives of individuals, but the impact can be seen throughout the whole community. People young and old have seen the power of positive learning opportunities and the variety of career pathways that exist in Dareton and the greater region.
Dameion said he saw firsthand how BMEET’s employees and trainees have grown and developed, and in turn, positively influenced the community.
“From day one, when we had the young men, they were pretty rough and wild little fellas,” Dameion said.
“After working closely with the elders these guys are now 100% mentors to the other younger people.”
He said it’s important to engage youth through BMEET as it helps them remain connected to country and culture.
“It’s important for younger men to have ownership, so to speak,” Dameion said.
“They go to places they haven’t been before, on country, do this type of work, give it back to community and let the community know what is happening.”
Starting with a focus on training and employment for men in the region, BMEET is now expanding to provide opportunities for women in the community as well.
“BMEET focused on the men’s business. The IAS funding enabled us to create a position for women too so we can engage more people in the community,” Dameion said.