New start for graduates of Matera Foundation and APM program

A pilot program to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people improve their health and gain employment has transformed the lives of ten job seekers in eight weeks.

APM joined forces with the Matera Foundation to deliver the first round of Creating Pathways to Employment in Perth.

Eligible job seekers registered with APM - who deliver the Australian Government’s jobactive program to help more people find work - were put forward to the Matera Foundation to boost their employability.

As part of the eight-week program, participants spent time learning about health, fitness and nutrition, as well as job searching skills, interview techniques and work-related training courses.

The full-time course included regular exercise sessions and one-on-one tutoring to overcome personal challenges and barriers to employment.

Foundation chairman and West Coast Eagles legend Peter Matera congratulated the program’s first class of graduates for their dedication and commitment.

Presenting each of the graduates with a certificate of completion the AFL hero told an audience of employers, friends, family and supporters how they had all progressed to become job-ready and were all in the process of starting employment.

“I’m so proud of them all,” he said. “We’ve seen a big change in everyone. They came here with their own barriers and behaviours and they learned things they’ve never seen before.”

Mr Matera said they now have people lined up for the second program which starts later this month.

“We already know how we can make improvements to make the program smoother and keep trying to make more of a difference in the community,” he said.

Many of the graduates are now preparing for work with mining companies including BHP and Sodexo.

APM’s jobactive General Manager, Greg Hall, said the employment services provider was delighted with the first round of the program.

“We are super proud to be involved with the Matera Foundation. The respect and inspiration the graduates have personally brought to the group has impressed all of us.”

The next eight-week program starts at the end of March in Perth. It is hoped the continued success of of the WA-based initiative could be rolled out nationwide.

APM’s jobactive program aims to link eligible unemployed people with potential employers while providing access to job seeking, counselling, health and community support where required.

  • Job seekers registered with APM can speak to their employment consultant to see if they are eligible to be candidates in the program.
  • For more information, email Greg Hall at or the Matera Foundation at

How the program works

The Matera Foundation and APM Creating Pathways to Employment program aims to support Indigenous Australians improve their health and increase their employment opportunities.

The eight-week program includes a range of support for each participant, including:

  • Classes, training and advice five days a week
  • Healthy eating and nutrition advice
  • Regular fitness sessions
  • Group and individual support work
  • Access to job-related training services
  • Support to search for and find jobs
  • Help to communicate with employers, team members and customers
  • Practical skill building for resumes, interviews and job applications
  • Links to partner organisations to learn about different job roles

What do graduates think of the program?

Searna Michael, 27, joined the program after a recommendation from her APM employment consultant.

“I had never done anything like this before. I doubted myself and was a bit lost. But this course gave me back my confidence.

“We learned about how to present ourselves well, get ready for work, time management and commitment as well as company policies and procedures.

“It’s been a great few weeks and we’ve made a lot of friends too.

Gloria Parfitt, 44, said she didn’t know what to expect from the program but quickly made progress.

“I just went with the flow. It ended up being a lot of fun. I did online learning and learnt a lot about healthy eating too."

Gloria said she is now looking forward to working with Sodexo after her eight weeks in the program.

Kieran Narrier, 22, said his life had changed a lot over the course of the eight weeks.

“I’ve been able to get the tickets I needed for my life goals. I want to be a machine operator on the mines and they’ve helped me get the interviews and the medical too.

“My health has changed and the experience has really helped me.”

Keith Langford, 28, said he was able to connect with the program better than anything before.

“To have someone like Peter involved is a big deal. We all know him as this footy legend, but he’s walked in our shoes and he knows us. We all look up to him and he could be out there coaching but he’s here helping our community and that’s really special for us.”

Keith said as well as the job preparation, he had also found the health and fitness parts of the program to bring a major change to his life.

“I know how to communicate and deal with stress better now,” he said.

“The one-on-one sessions also made all of that easier”.

“And I’m eating healthier. With all the fitness you can see the results and you feel good. They’ve even given us a program so we can keep up with it. I’m gonna keep going with it and get a six-pack.”


Find out more: