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Commonwealth Games Geared Up to support Indigenous businesses

Geared Up Culcha

Spectators at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) will see first-hand the opportunities given to Indigenous businesses as a result of the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Those travelling on buses to and from events on the Gold Coast will see the work of Indigenous business Geared Up Culcha, based at Sumner south-west of Brisbane, which has supplied uniforms for hundreds of bus drivers.

“Paul (the owner) and I were invited to an Indigenous businesses presentation where we found out about the opportunities for local businesses to be involved with the Games,” Mr Williams said.

“But we also understood the commercial reality and knew that we would not just get the job just because we were an Indigenous business, or a Queensland business – we would have to demonstrate our capability, capacity, and be commercially viable.”

The business provides customised workwear and marketing materials.

Mr Williams said one of the greatest tangible outcomes of securing a GC2018 contract was the ability to provide employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Ashley Gorton, 18, is one of the three additional Indigenous trainees who were put on because of the Games contract and is now employed full-time with Geared Up Culcha.

“It was pretty special to be given this opportunity,” Miss Gorton said. “A lot of the time, people don’t give us chances.”

“I came for an interview and started that day. Jamie and the team knew straight away that I would be a good fit in the business, and I knew I would love to work here. I still feel the same.”

Miss Gorton is now involved in sales operations and customer support. She said the opportunity to be involved in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience”.

Mr Williams said watching young people develop their skills and confidence – and be able to develop in the business or secure other employment – was one of the reasons why Geared Up Culcha remained committed to traineeship and apprenticeship programs, especially for Indigenous people.

Just weeks away from the Games, Mr Williams reflected on the involvement with GC2018 and how it prompted changes in their usual processes.

“The Games organisers had clear guidelines around packaging and environmental considerations,” Mr Williams explained.

“For example, we would usually package every shirt in its own plastic bag. That’s a lot of plastic, so we changed this to bigger cartons to reduce the carton tape, and filled that with one recycled plastic sleeve per box, which contained a water-proof membrane so the shirts were still protected if the box got wet.

“It was a big change from our usual process, but one that will have a positive impact on the environment. From that one change, the result is thousands less plastic bags. That means thousands less plastic bags that could potentially end up in the ocean for a dolphin or a turtle to eat."