Western Power and Clontarf Foundation have joined forces to support more than 130 Aboriginal teenagers from metropolitan and regional academies to participate in the 16th annual Wadjemup Cup on Rottnest Island.
Clontarf Academy Year 8 and 9 students participated in the eagerly anticipated Aussie Rules footy carnival on 5 November with spectators arriving by the boatload to cheer the teams on at the free community event.
Relationships with Clontarf Foundation and Waalitj Foundation Deadly Sista Girlz Program are part of Western Power’s commitment to deepen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples toward a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities it serves.
A player enjoys the game during the 2022 Wadjemup Cup, held in Rottnest Island on 5 November. Photo: Clontarf Foundation
CEO Sam Barbaro, who was among the Western Power volunteers on the day, said the Wadjemup Cup was an excellent way to support reconciliation in the community and build new pathways for employment.
“It was a fabulous day volunteering and supporting young Western Australians to play football, and listen to current and future Aboriginal elders talk about the important work Clontarf Foundation does to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people attend and complete school to prepare for the workplace,” Mr Barbaro said.
“I think that I speak for all of us who attended the event about the pride we felt in our sponsorship and seeing the impact it has. We have several Clontarf students working with us including Adrian [Winmar] who came for the day and is forging a great career with Western Power.
“We also had the opportunity to speak with Clontarf staff on how we can further our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment journey and support the great work they are doing.”
The Clontarf Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that works to improve the education, self-esteem, and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help them achieve their life goals.
Participants included Cecil Andrews College pupil Jake Taylor, who had his first taste of the Wadjemup Cup competition last Saturday.
Jake relished the opportunity to socialise with like-minded youngsters as they embarked on a cultural tour of Wadjemup.
“I had a fun time – I’d never been to Rottnest Island before so I’m glad I had the chance to get to know the other academy students,” Jake expressed.
Gerard Neesham, Clontarf Foundation founder and CEO, said the players were not chosen because of their football prowess, but for their excellent attendance at school, in-class behaviour, and engagement with the Clontarf program.
“It’s one of the biggest Clontarf events of the year, and many boys go the extra mile at school to make sure they’re able to take part,” Mr Neesham said.
As valued partners of Clontarf, he added, Western Power staff were invited to attend the carnival and be active participants by volunteering to goal umpire, run water to players on the field, join in on the Long Bomb kicking contest, and to cheer on the players from the sidelines.
“This support directly contributes to the improved self-esteem and personal growth of the young Aboriginal men who participate.
“These opportunities build positive momentum that will encourage the young men to strive over the last two months of the school year and prepare them to start school in the new year,” Mr Neesham concluded.