A whole town benefitting from Ryan's CDP handiwork

A whole town benefitting from Ryan's CDP handiwork

Indigenous Affairs Education
Friday, 21 October 2016

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Ryan Johnston

In Karratha, Ryan Johnston has turned his CDP activities into helping the whole town, with even the local mayor admiring his handiwork.

Born and bred in the remote Pilbara region of northwest Western Australia, Ryan recently entered the Australian Government’s Community Development Programme (CDP) as an unemployed man with few qualifications. He did however have a burning desire to get a good job.  

In the Pilbara region, CDP is delivered by Real Employment For Aboriginal People (REFAP), an Aboriginal-owned organisation which is helping unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gain skills important for future long-term employment.

As part of his CDP activities, Ryan started training in woodwork and discovered he had an aptitude for it.

“I’m a creative person so working in the woodwork shop is good for me,” Ryan said. 

“REFAP has a great set up here so we have everything we need to work and we’re a really tight group here.”

When Ryan and his fellow CDP participants heard that a popular local grandmother had lost almost everything she owned in a flood, they realised they could help her.

“We decided to make a table and chairs for her for free,” Ryan said.

“Everyone was dedicated to making a good quality table and chairs, searching for the right kind of wood and taking extra care to ensure it looked really professional.”

Ryan was also involved in building two height-adjustable easels which were donated to the Karratha Library.

“The library is using the easels to display paintings in their foyer and during NAIDOC Week it was displaying Aboriginal artwork, which made me really proud,” Ryan said.

Even though he is benefitting Karratha with all his great work, Ryan is already looking ahead as he considers his future employment career.

“I’m really enjoying working here and I would love to go into a carpentry apprenticeship but anything creative would be good,” he said.