Sodexo, global leader in quality of life services, has announced a national partnership with the Clontarf Foundation to help improve education, discipline, self-esteem and employment prospects for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and men across Australia.

This long-term partnership, commencing this month, is an important milestone in the company’s Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to help further the national reconciliation movement. 

The Clontarf Foundation, launched in 2000 by former coach of the Fremantle Dockers Football Club and former Sydney Swans player Gerard Neesham OAM, runs programs delivered through a network of football academies in partnerships with schools. 

Any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander male can take part in the Clontarf Academy, as long as they continue their schooling and embrace the objectives of the foundation. This method has resulted in an 80 percent school attendance rate and 90 percent retention rate by Clontarf participants. 

Records show, 80 percent of Clontarf students remain engaged in employment or further study one year after completing Grade 12.

Each student is mentored and counselled by full-time Clontarf staff on a range of behavioural and lifestyle issues while being provided a pathway to employment post-school. 

Sodexo CEO Mining APAC Paul Cooper said Sodexo wanted to support Clontarf’s valuable work as a national partner, while providing participants access to employment. 

“Sodexo’s national partnership with Clontarf will support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait men across Australia to achieve higher levels of education, leadership skills and better health and employment outcomes.  We view these results as essential in producing positive change across Australia,” Mr Cooper said.

“The partnership has highlighted key synergies between our two organisations, focussing on key areas of employment and reconciliatory action.

“We’ve seen the value of the Clontarf Foundation’s work in some of our employees who were former program participants. They could have made many wrong choices in their youth, but because of Clontarf’s support, they took positive steps and continue to be examples to others.” 

Gerard Neesham welcomed Sodexo’s support to enhance the foundation, including helping it grow across the country. 

“We rely on the support and national partnership of organisations like Sodexo to grow and expand our national footprint,” Mr Neesham said.

“Already the program helps more than 8,000 boys in 128 schools across Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. We look forward to this program, with Sodexo’s support, continuing to grow and help more and more boys contribute meaningfully to society.” 

For more information on the Clontarf Foundation, visit here.

For more information about Sodexo and its Elevate RAP activities, visit here.

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