Coates Hire celebrates Reconciliation Action Plan

The Coates Hire team. L-R: Sheridan Jones, Ryan Stokes, Jeff Hardy, Gail Symons, Murray Vitlich.

Coates Hire, one of Australia’s leading equipment hire and solutions companies, celebrated its ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan at its Moorebank branch yesterday. The plan outlines clear targets for the company to increase the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and apprentices within its ranks by 2025.

Ryan Stokes, Chairman of Coates Hire, and CEO and Managing Director of Seven Group Holdings, attended the event and announced a three-year investment – matched by Federal and State governments – with national not-for-profit organisation The Clontarf Foundation. The total investment will cover the associated costs for 120 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men to participate in the Clontarf program for the next three years.

“Today is a significant day in Coates Hire’s 135-year history, with the launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan and partnership with The Clontarf Foundation.  This affirms our commitment to help support communities and create positive change,” Stokes said.

“We are proud to have our plan endorsed and to be an active part of Australia’s reconciliation movement.”

Reconciliation Action Plan will foster increased Indigenous participation and cultural awareness

The development of their ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan commenced in October 2019 when a group of employees from across all parts of Coates Hire came together to conduct a review of Coates Hire’s cultural learning needs and diversity groups. Working closely with Reconciliation Australia, the Group developed a plan that reflected a new vision for Coates Hire in its employment and community endeavours for Indigenous Australians.

The plan ensures Coates Hire will drive a number of initiatives to foster respectful relationships and create meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, while also building cultural awareness and embedding a culture of inclusion and diverse thinking at Coates Hire.

The plan outlines several significant and clear targets for the company, including: providing cultural awareness training to all employees by June 2021; increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander apprenticeship participation rates to 10 per cent by 2025; and increasing its overall employee participation rate to 2.5 per cent by 2025.

Coates Hire owns and operates more than 150 branches around Australia, including in regional centres where opportunities for indigenous communities are limited.

“We have an incredibly diverse range of jobs, from customer service and sales to mechanics and engineering, said Murray Vitlich, CEO, Coates Hire.

“We know we can make a difference through changes in the lives of individuals and families, and real improvements in workplaces and communities. That is why we see this plan not as an end in itself, but as the next important step in our commitment to improving the opportunities available to Indigenous communities across the country. As an Australian owned organisation, we must ensure our business reflects our diverse society, honours the place of our first peoples and, most importantly, contributes in a practical way to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” said Vitlich.

In addition, the company pledges to increase its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business procurement to 5 per cent of suppliers engaged in a tender, and 1 per cent of total supplier spend contracted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned businesses by 2022.

Coates Hire’s Investment in Clontarf Foundation matched by Federal and State Governments

The Clontarf Foundation is a national not-for-profit organisation that exists to improve the education, discipline, self-esteem, life skills and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and equips them to participate more meaningfully in society.

Stokes announced the three-year commitment to the foundation. The investment, matched by Federal and State Governments, will support 123 Clontarf Academies located in many communities across the country where both Clontarf and Coates Hire co-exist.

“We are thrilled that Coates Hire has committed to supporting the Clontarf Foundation’s national operations over the next three years,” said Gerard Neesham, CEO, Clontarf Foundation.

“We look forward to building our relationship on the ground with the numerous Coates Hire branches where we co-exist, and expose our young men to their business, resulting in many Clontarf Year 12 leavers becoming Coates Hire employees in the future.”

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