New cultural program will help youth gain employment

Maar Koodjal dancers at Yanchep National Park for the launch of the On Country Healing program. Picture: Anita McInnes

YOUNG Western Australians who have been in contact or are at risk of engagement with the justice system will benefit from a new collaboration between Maar Koodjal and Royal Life Saving WA.

On Country Healing is a program designed to provide engagement and diversionary pathways for young people throughout Perth’s northern suburbs that will instil positive cultural identity and will provide valuable aquatic industry skills, experience and qualifications.

While the project’s main aim is to address, reduce and prevent antisocial behaviour in this cohort, the project will also help realise ongoing employment opportunities in areas such as traditional Aboriginal cultural performance and throughout the aquatic industry.

Maar Koodjal, whose name literally translates to ‘Two Worlds’, is an Aboriginal not-for-profit organisation who will foster stronger connection to culture within participants through on Country exposure to traditional practices such as dance and art, tool making, family structures and storytelling.

The organisation will also support the link between cultural connection and the workplace – ‘Two Worlds’.

Royal Life Saving WA will expand its delivery of its successful Talent Pool program that seeks to use the local swimming pool to engage, equip and employ young people with the skills needed to obtain employment within the aquatic industry.

Royal Life Saving WA will support the link to culture for those in the workforce who have not traditionally engaged in this space.

The program has been supported by the Department of Justice’s criminal property confiscation grants program.

Royal Life Saving WA chief executive officer Peter Leaversuch said thanks to the strong support from the Western Australian Department of Justice their partnership with Maar Koodjal had been able to grow.

“We are excited to be working to improve positive life skills and employment opportunities for participants,’’ he said.

Maar Koodjal chief executive officer Dennis Simmons said the program would provide valuable opportunities for young people to reconnect with traditional Aboriginal culture and to build stronger networks of support.

On Country Healing was officially launched on November 6 at the Yanchep National Park by Attorney General and Butler MLA John Quigley and City of Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts.

For more information about the program contact Travis Doye at Royal Life Saving WA on 9383 8200 or email