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Bringing new opportunities to new arrivals

3-minute read

The nbn® fibre rollout expands, offering faster nbn speeds and creating job opportunities through Ventia and Civik.

The nbn® fibre rollout continues apace, with more than two million additional Australian households now able to order nbn’s fastest home connection.

nbn fibre upgrade program boosted through the Australian Government’s recent announcement of an additional $2.4 billion investment.

Full fibre connection to the nbn network offers customers access to the higher speed tiers, which delivers a better, more reliable internet experience for homes and businesses.

Empowering regional communities

The scale of the fibre upgrade, occurring across regional and metropolitan Australia, has presented resource and recruitment challenges for some of our biggest construction and delivery partners.

To overcome this, Ventia recently partnered with White Box Enterprises to create Civik, a telecommunications social enterprise, to help unlock resource opportunities in regional Australia, creating jobs for people who face barriers to work, including former refugees. 

Empowering a diverse workforce

In its start-up phase, Civik recruited its first crew in Cairns, and with nbn’s help, trained the individuals in telecommunications skills.

The crew of eight have diverse origins from countries including Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Myanmar. They have since been getting their hands dirty in and around Cairns, completing activities to rollout fibre, such as repairing and building new cable pits, and installing and laying cable. 

Building skills and careers

The fibre upgrade program provides the opportunity for individuals to develop highly transferrable skills which they can grow and utilise on projects into the future, whilst working on a nation-building infrastructure program to take Australia into the digital future.

Social enterprises like Civik, provide an avenue for jobs and skills to be held within the community, enabling them to install and maintain their own telecommunications infrastructure, whilst also providing a pathway for young people to enter the telecommunications industry and pursue lifelong careers.

Julienne fled Burundi with her family in 2019. Living and working in Australia has afforded her new opportunities not possible in the African nation.

“I was always interested in working in construction, and when this opportunity came – up I took it,” says Julienne.

“In my country, where I came from, most females don’t do this type of work, in Australia anyone can do anything they want.

“When I was studying I couldn’t do this job. Most female jobs were about working in the shops. When I came here, I was allowed to do construction in school.”

For Gerard from Congo, digging in mud, wet and humid conditions at times can present the greatest challenge to the work. However, it can also present the greatest reward.

“The most satisfying thing about what we do, is when it’s all done, we put the pit in and start screwing it all together,” says Gerard.

Civik General Manager Dominiqe Bird said labour force shortages presented a new opportunity for firms.

“Our goal is to activate an untapped pool of talented, motivated workers in regional areas who simply require a chance to establish a career,” he said.

“We focus on the unique skills and experiences of these individuals. Instead of viewing new arrivals as individuals in need of support, we use a strength-based approach which recognises their resilience, diversity and the valuable contributions they can make to society and the economy.”

nbn General Manager Fixed Line Greg Thornton said:

"The Ventia/Civik partnership was an innovative way to help solve workforce labour shortages while empowering people with new skills and careers."

“It’s fantastic the nbn fibre upgrade program, which involves rolling out more than 65,000 km of optical fibre across Australia, is helping to provide new opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds in our regional towns and cities.” 

“I’m proud we were able to help our fibre rollout delivery partners in facilitating the training that will provide invaluable skills for now and into the future," he said.

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