“I never thought I would be where I am now.” Lilian’s story.

Young Indigenous job seeker, Lilian has celebrated six months with Rail Systems Alliance in Melbourne (part of the Metro Tunnel Project) as its trainee Social Inclusion and Procurement Administrator. Her role focuses on building links with Victorian Aboriginal and social enterprise suppliers.

The right support

After Lilian’s living arrangement changed and she moved back in with her grandmother, she transferred to MatchWorks Epping where she met Employment Consultant, Suzy Al Khadem.

“Things started to fall into place when I met Suzy,” Lilian said. “She explained everything to me, and I felt really supported.”

“Lilian was an absolute delight to work with,” Suzy said. “Showing Lilian her worth and encouraging her to take this great opportunity was the easy part.”

MatchWorks Employment Consultant, Diane Sardo suggested Lilian apply for a new role through CPB Contractors with the Rail Systems Alliance social inclusion and procurement team, pre-screening and presenting her resume to CPB. Suzy also helped Lilian:

  • Prepare for interviews
  • Manage the medical process
  • Maintain regular contact with MatchWorks.

“Diane presented me so favourably to CPB,” Lilian said. “She told them that I was a wonderful Indigenous candidate for their Indigenous trainee role encompassing a Certificate IV in Business.

“It was a lengthy process to get the role, I went through three interviews.”

Her grandmother encouraged her to pursue the role. “Everything I know about my heritage today is because of her. She raised me and pushed me to be a better version of myself, she pushed me to complete high school and she even pushed me to go through with the interviews for this job. Without her, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

The right employer

Rails System Alliance Industry Capability and Social Inclusion Lead Steve Bryson said: “Lilian is helping to increase the social value and inclusion of Rail System Alliance’s work, and to reward and recognise certified and Indigenous business.  We’ve hired 23 Indigenous people and are committed to continuing to create more opportunities.

“We recognise culturally significant days and deliver cultural proficiency training to raise staff awareness and understanding, and our new employee buddy program places new team members with staff from the same diversity background.”

The Metro Tunnel – when it opens in 2025 – will create a new end-to-end rail line from Sunbury in the west to Cranbourne/Pakenham in the south east.

Lilian is looking forward to developing her network and growing with Rail Systems Alliance.

“To be able to work in the Indigenous space is something I have always wanted to do,” Lilian said. “I love seeing all the Indigenous companies we have onboard succeed on the project and all the inclusive events we celebrate.

“Working remotely and learning my role over Microsoft Teams was difficult, but I have always been able to rely on my manager if I need anything; the whole team is always helpful.

“My role now is just a steppingstone to go even further in the company. I’m looking forward to developing my network and growing with Rail Systems Alliance.

“Persevere, don’t give up. You will get there in the end. There will be a better day tomorrow.”

It’s NAIDOC Week 4 – 11 July, a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This years theme is Heal Country! It calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.