Coates and Clontarf: Building bridges for a brighter future

Coates, one of Australia’s leading equipment hire and solutions provider, has always demonstrated a commitment to creating positive change within communities.

This commitment shines brightly in its partnership with the Clontarf Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to enhancing the education and life prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

Since its humble beginnings 24 years ago in Perth with 25 boys, Clontarf has expanded its influence, and now engages more than 11,500 students across Australia.

“Clontarf really is a life-changing program of education, mentoring and support for these young men,” Coates national partnerships manager Adam Spink said.

“There’s a flow-on effect for their families and communities too, so it aligns with the Coates value of ‘care deeply’ and with what we want to achieve in our reconciliation journey.”

Coates first partnered with Clontarf in 2020 as part of its first ‘reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which pledged to foster respectful relationships and create meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and employees.

After three successful years and following the launch of Coates’ ‘innovate’ RAP in 2022, the company is thrilled to renew its partnership with Clontarf for another three years.

Key highlights of the partnership to date include:

  • 13 Clontarf graduates have been employed at Coates
  • more than 1,000 Clontarf students have visited Coates’ work sites nationwide as part of work experience/career days
  • Coates attended 77 Clontarf employment forums, showcasing the various career pathways available at Coates
  • Coates staff engaged in over 200 Clontarf activities such as carnivals, morning trainings and awards nights.

“When our RAP Committee first assessed the opportunity to partner with the Clontarf Foundation, we recognised it was a partnership with clear synergies,” Spink said.

“We were impressed by Clontarf’s success in supporting young Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island men to finish school, transition into employment and reach their full potential. The Committee was also excited by the opportunities to open doors for employee engagement and increase cultural awareness within our own organisation.”

Clontarf Foundation founder and chief executive officer Gerard Neesham echoed Adam’s enthusiasm for the partnership.

“The partnership between the Clontarf Foundation and Coates has been an incredible success from the outset,” Neesham said.

“The engagement between our academies and Coates staff on the ground has been second to none. It is through these interactions that the young Clontarf men improve their confidence, grow their work-ready skills and ultimately find work with an employer that is committed to developing them further.”

Image: Coates

The partnership actively supports 150 Clontarf academies across Australia, including 100 locations where Coates operates a branch. Coates also offers work experience placements, workshops and training, and apprenticeships to Clontarf participants, ensuring a holistic learning experience.

“Many students have visited our branches to get insights into Coates and then engaged in work experience with us,” Spink said. “Our teams have also participated in training sessions at various Clontarf academies, sporting carnivals and end-of-year awards nights.”

The ripple effect of this partnership’s positive outcomes resonates far and wide. Many Clontarf attendees, inspired by their experiences, share their stories in their communities, organically expanding the reach of the program.

“It’s a great way to introduce our staff to the positive aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who may not have had much experience in those environments,” Spink said.

Coates shares its ambition to support and empower young Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island men with customers that are also Clontarf corporate partners.

“It’s great to see organisations that share our values to create meaningful change in our communities,” Spink said.

In one such example of the joint commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Coates collaborated with BMD, Bunnings and the Clontarf Foundation to upgrade the Yarning Circle at Cecil Andrews College in Perth.

Coates provided equipment for the project, with Clontarf Academy students, staff and volunteers from all three companies working together to create a safe space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and the whole school community to exchange stories and experiences.

For Coates, the partnership with Clontarf stands as a vital part of its desire to develop respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and collaborate to create meaningful and sustainable opportunities.

As they continue their work, both organisations pave the way for a more inclusive and promising future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

To learn more about Coates’ commitment to the community, visit Coates Foundation.

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