5 March 2024

Pormpuraaw youth RISE to challenge with new carpentry skills

| Cape York Weekly
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RISE Ventures workshop supervisor Darren Tarpencha (left) is showing Pormpuraaw youth like Reginald Ambrum and Dontay Bally the finer points of basic carpentry in a move that is providing the community with much-needed household items that cannot be purchased locally. Photo: Supplied.

The purchase of a new dog has proven to be the unconventional catalyst for an interest in carpentry for youth in the remote western Cape York community of Pormpuraaw.

After community resident and RISE Ventures participant Dontay Bally brought his new four-legged friend back from Cairns recently, he asked project coordinator Stephen Ambrum, workshop supervisor Darren Tarpencha and land and sea supervisor Lloyd Williams whether they could help build a kennel to house the dog.

A carpenter by trade, Mr Tarpencha saw the request as an opportunity to teach Mr Bally and other participants woodworking skills that developed well beyond the scope of the original kennel project.

With material sourced, the youth were taught cutting and joining techniques, levelling, as well as how to safely use a range of power tools.

Mr Bally said he was thrilled with the finished kennel, adding he was grateful for the opportunity to learn basic carpentry skills.

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RISE Ventures remote employment service manager Coral Harris said the project had kickstarted a genuine interest in the youth to increase their knowledge and skills, with a number of other carpentry projects now under way.

RISE Ventures participants are now using their carpentry skills to make dining tables and chairs, bed frames and headboards for the Pormpuraaw community. Photo: Supplied.

“This is one of those ‘build it and they will come’ moments,” she said.

“Darren and Lloyd, led by Stephen, are doing a fantastic job connecting with and engaging our youth in a way that encourages, supports and helps develop them.

“It showcases what can happen when great connections are made; these young men are at the workshop because they want to be, not because they have to be.”

Ms Harris added it had been an empowering experience to watch the participants gain confidence in not only their skills on the tools, but also in themselves.

“It hasn’t been just an interest, but there’s a sense of pride and achievement for every stick of furniture they work on and complete,” she said.

“Darren is also teaching the boys how to make dining tables and chairs, bed frames and headboards.

“These items are practical and needed in our community, but can’t be purchased locally.”

The dog kennel that kickstarted the interest in carpentry in the remote community of Pormpuraaw. Photo: Supplied

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