G4S supports Aboriginal Leadership Program in Western Australia
G4S Australia recently entered into a partnership with Fairbridge, a not-for-profit youth charity in Western Australia, to support its Cultural Leadership Program. The program offers mentoring, training and cultural education for Aboriginal youth at risk, prisoners, offenders and families.
The driving force behind G4S’s support of this important partnership was Brett Mc Merrin, who joined the company as Director Care & Justice WA/NT in January 2015. Previously an Assistant Commissioner with the WA Department of Correctional Services, he has an indepth understanding of the custodial environment intrinsic to Western Australia and is passionate about supporting programs that can help break the cycle of overrepresentation of indigenous people in the custodial system.
We are very pleased to support Fairbridge. The charity is highly regarded for its work with Aboriginal and non-indigenous disadvantaged youth, people with disabilities and Aboriginal prisoners, which is important to the field we work in, said Brett McMerrin, Director of G4S Care and Justice in Western Australia.
The number of people who will benefit from the Cultural Leadership Program is estimated to be greater than 8,000 per year. This includes Aboriginal prisoners from Karnet Prison; students involved in traineeships and apprenticeships; Aboriginal youth in sports development programs; and Bindjareb trainees who participate in family activities.
Australia is grappling with an overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prisons. Organisations like Fairbridge are key to improving the rehabilitation of offenders and disadvantaged youth, and to tackling the issues that are contributing to high incarceration rates, Mr McMerrin said.
Fairbridge integrates Aboriginal culture and values into its services and programs, providing unique support to its clients through employment, education, vocational and life skills training.
Working alongside Fairbridge demonstrates our commitment to help enrich Aboriginal peoples’ lives in Western Australia. Our relationship with Fairbridge may also lead to future training and recruitment opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this region, Mr McMerrin said.
This opportunity with Fairbridge supports the aims of G4S’s Reconciliation Action Plan, as staff will be able to participate in cultural ceremonies, make regular visits to Fairbridge and will have the chance to interact with Aboriginal youth, adults and elders in the community.
We hope to build on our relationship with Fairbridge to incorporate its programs and services into our operations in Western Australia, concludes Mr McMerrin pictured above with members of staff from Fairbridge.