Taylor Hosts an Educational Site Tour at the First Building

Empowering Indigenous Youth on Dharug Country.

In the spirit of fostering educational opportunities and cultural connection, Taylor, in collaboration with the KARI Foundation and Bernadette Hardy, hosted an inspiring site tour for Indigenous students at the First Building, located on the ancestral lands of the Dharug people, and future home to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility.

The tour was a unique blend of education, culture, and construction, tailored for female Indigenous students from Cambridge Park High School who have shown a keen interest in the construction industry. The First Building, a project that embodies a connection to Country with its design inspired by the natural waterways and the Cumberland Plains, is an open and welcoming architectural expression that reflects the fluidity of the landscape and connects the building to the deep history of Country. The KARI Foundation’s role in supporting these students is pivotal, offering them educational experiences and pathways to employment opportunities.

The event began with a heartfelt welcome by Bernadette Hardy, a proud Gamilaraay and Dharug spatial designer and cultural researcher who was engaged as a sub-consultant in the design process of the First Building. Bernadette shared her personal journey and the opportunities available in design and construction. Taylor’s Senior Contract Administrator, Azin Danesh, and Cadet, Amanda Bruhn, followed by sharing fun facts about the project and their career stories, illustrating the diverse pathways into the construction sector. Amanda’s journey from high school to a cadetship, leading to her current studies in Construction Management, highlighted the transformative power of education and mentorship.

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Students were introduced to various construction materials via an interactive ‘Show & Tell’ session, each with their own narratives. Timber, representing the integration of nature into urban development; Rammed Earth Walls, a symbol of the land’s essence, and Pigmented Concrete, reflecting the foundational strength of the earth—all these elements were showcased to the students, connecting them to the deep history of the land. The guided site tour allowed the students to witness these materials at full scale, providing a comprehensive understanding of their application in the construction process. The tour was informative and a sensory exploration of the project’s various aspects.

To conclude the event, Bernadette led a creative exercise on a large canvas, inviting the students to express their feelings and experiences from the day. The artwork created, including the depiction of the ‘grandmother tree,’ powerfully represented the students’ connection to their culture and the day’s learnings.

As we look forward to NAIDOC Week, this educational site tour is a prelude to the celebrations. This year’s theme, “Blak, Loud and Proud,” resonates with the experiences shared during the tour, highlighting the unyielding spirit of Indigenous communities. Through initiatives like this educational tour, we are reminded of the importance of cultural education and the role it plays in empowering the next generation of First Nations Peoples.