Supporting employment for the disadvantaged will be a key focus of BESIX Watpac in delivering an upgrade of the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre (DPFC) of behalf of the Community Safety Building Authority (CSBA).
The Dame Phyllis Frost Centre is one of two women’s prisons in Victoria and is located at Ravenhall, in Melbourne’s north-west. The facility accommodates a range of prisoners, including women with mental health conditions and cognitive impairment disabilities, as well young children who have been approved to live with their mothers.
The upgrade project includes the construction of new accommodation, program and educational buildings, a new tele-court, and legal resource facility, an extension of the perimeter fence and upgrades to electronic security systems.
Construction will commence this month. The upgrade project is overseen by the CSBA, which delivers infrastructure on behalf of the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
In a major commitment to delivering social benefit as part of the project, the BESIX Watpac Begin Program will provide direct employment and training opportunities for disadvantaged Victorians, as well as engaging agencies that employ disadvantaged people.
The agencies involved include the Jesuit Social Services Out For Good Program, the YMCA Rebuild Program and Wamarra, a civil contractor that provides opportunities for Aboriginal workers.
This will be complemented by BESIX Watpac’s National Indigenous Engagement Policy which mandates targets for Indigenous employment on projects.
BESIX Watpac CEO, Jean-Pol Bouharmont, said the company’s approach is in line with its focus on sustainability and social procurement.
“As a major national, multi-disciplinary construction contractor, BESIX Watpac recognises our responsibility to use our buying power to generate social value above and beyond the dollar value of the project,” Mr Bouharmont said.
The BESIX Watpac Begin Program aims to support individuals identified by the Out For Good Program and will embrace the catchcry, “Find your passion, start your career.”
Participants will undertake an 18-month technical rotation on the project.
BESIX Watpac General Manager for Victoria and South Australia, Simon Ballard, said the project team is proud of the social procurement model.
“This is the future of social procurement and we’re excited about its potential. This project is just the beginning for the BESIX Watpac Begin Program and I am confident it will set a benchmark in the construction industry,” Mr Ballard said.
The project will also support participants coming through the YMCA Rebuild Program which will have the opportunity to tender for various landscaping packages.
Civil subcontracting opportunities will be offered to Indigenous participants through the civil contractor, Wamarra, which is focused on Aboriginal employment.
Construction of the upgraded facility is expected to be completed in late 2022.