At 25, central Queensland Mitakoodi man Lyle Ah Sam, was struggling to provide security for his young family while working in the unpredictable world of casual employment. Now, thanks to the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES), he is enjoying the security of regular wages and looking forward to a career in construction.
Mr Ah Sam, who recently began work on the site of the new Barangaroo Headland Park in Sydney said that he is loving working in the construction industry. While for many, the hard yakka of working as a civil labourer would be a big ask, this young dad said he’s loving the challenge.
“At the moment we’re doing civil work around the machines and the excavator. I’m working in the dirty zone – which means we’re around materials such as asbestos so we have to wear big protective suits and it’s all about safety first – but it’s good – I like it because you learn a lot,” said Lyle.
Lyle said that the best thing about having permanent employment is knowing that he has a stable income and said he is grateful as he now knows how difficult it can be to find work.
“I was looking for work for at least 3 months before I got this job and was working on and off in labour hire but it’s not a good way to work because as a casual they can just get rid of you whenever. When you’ve got a family you want something stable. It was pretty stressful but when you have your kid and your wife depending on you, you just have to not give up and keep trying and do any work that you can, but there were some tough times.”
Now, three months later, Lyle said his life has changed for the better and that he is no longer stressed about the future.
“My life has changed a lot,” said Lyle. “Just being able to do basic things like pay your bills takes a lot of stress and weight off your shoulders. Being able to provide the basic things for your family is one of the most important things in life and now we’re even able to start to try and save up and do other things as well.”
Being a father was a big part of the incentive for this young dad to do whatever it took to find permanent employment and focus on his career.
“My little girl has just turned one. Being a dad is a big thing and it makes you feel good. It keeps you on the right track – there’s nothing better than providing for your family and being able to do right thing by them.”
Mr Ah Sam, who moved down from Darwin, said finding work in a new city would have been a lot more difficult if it wasn’t for the support he received from the AES and knowing he could go to his own mob for the support he needed.
“Because they’re my people I guess you kind of feel more comfortable dealing with them because they can understand you. Every time I called up and I had any concerns they were always positive and would update me and tell me how things were going and they still keep in contact with me now to see how I am going on the job.”
AES contact – Rohan Tobler
Telephone (02) 4621-5900 or 1300 855 347