Engagement and participation with local communities both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous alike is embedded into the DNA of Baldja, this coupled with the combined experience and capabilities of all three companies in construction and commissioning projects across a wide range of industries brings a unique solution to clients.
In addition to commitments around creating employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and engaging local suppliers on every project, Baldja is committing to set aside 10% of all forcasted profits arising from all projects it is awarded.
This 10% will be used to support upskilling and training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at Baldja. Furthermore, this fund may be accessed to support the following examples but not limited to, tool purchases, costs associated with urgent travel home to Country for family related matters and assistance with housing. We are acutely aware that simply providing an apprenticeship is only half the story. Fostering and consistently nurturing a healthy, respectful company culture is critical to an apprentice’s success.
Baldja is committed to create Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples apprenticeship opportunities in addition to the numerous Indigenous apprenticeship opportunities already realised by the three companies.
A proud Whadjuk-Yued Noongar descendant of the Shaw mob from his father’s side, being offered an electrical apprenticeship was a defining moment in Frank's life. He started as an apprentice and his technical skill, managerial ability, and leadership aptitude saw him move quickly from electrician, to site supervisor, to project manager then into co-owner and director of Wilco Electrical.
In November 2016, determined to pay forward the same kind of opportunities and experiences that transformed his life, Frank made a pledge to create 20 electrical apprenticeships by 2020 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women. Fostering and consistently nurturing a healthy, respectful company culture was critical to this goals success. In December 2020, Frank and his team had generated 23 Aboriginal employment positions for which 14 were electrical apprenticeships. The remaining were traineeships in construction and admin. In 2019, Frank cofounds Kardan Construction.
Kardan has now grown to 50+ employees. In 2020, Frank cofounds and directs Baldja alongside Niall Conlon. A JV between Wilco, Kardan and RSGx. As of March 2023, Frank & his teams have created over 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples skills based employment positions in the electrical and construction industry.
Baldja was created with the vision of providing meaningful employment opportunities for indigenous Australians, with targets set to provide apprenticeships and sustainable work within the energy, infrastructure and resources sectors. It was important at the outset for the Baldja team to set ambitious objectives to truly ensure that we make a difference within the Australian Indigenous Community, and with this in mind, 10% of all profits derived from business activities and projects within Baldja will be set aside to fund these objectives.
I am very proud to have the opportunity to partner RSGx with Wilco Electrical and Kardan Construction, both established Supply Nation registered companies in their own right. Allowing RSGx to enhance it’s service offering, whilst maximising the benefits for Indigenous Australians in a clearly measurable way, is an ideal way to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the Indigenous communities in which we work.
Baldja engaged and commissioned inspiring NFP organisation, Art vs Depression (AVD). AVD uses art as a platform to encourage and empower those most at risk in our community and helping break down the stigma around mental health.
Gracie from AVD partnered with Jonica Sullivan, an Aboriginal artist from Laverton to collaborate on the Baldja art piece. Although now in her 40’s, Jonica has been passionate about painting since she was 19. Baldja director Frank Mitchell and RSGx director Niall Conlon proposed three fundamental aspects for the art piece. A topical view of Balingup (Frank’s hometown), a topical view of Dublin Hills (Niall’s hometown) in Ireland, and a topical view of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) for which Baldja’s office resides close by.
Gracie and Jonica harmonised and complemented one another to bring the three aspects together in their own Aboriginal and Māori artistic styles.
"I remember sitting with my mother, a strong indigenous artist who shared her story many times throughout her life and taught me to do the same. For me, being able to paint brought great joy to me and brought great honour to my family. This helps our culture live on as we pass down our stories and knowledge from family to family and to our grandchildren and friends.
I have had an amazing opportunity to collaborate with Gracie from AVD who brought coffee on a daily basis to Collective Hope – House of Hope where my journey began through a conversation. Gracie asked me to collaborate with him on this new platform which was a dream come true for me. I had an opportunity to tell my story to a wider group of people in a collaborative way. Following the painting which took a few months to complete, I was invited to an unveiling of our art work and I was able to talk to those in the room about my culture and what it meant to me and looking at the painting it was an amazing piece of work that came together so well."