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Robbie Coates from Lakes Entrance pursues traineeship as Koori Engagement Officer for East Gippsland Water
Lakes Entrance man Robbie Coates is passionate about his Aboriginal heritage and its links to local waterways and the land.
The 26-year-old's nurturing nature has led him to an operations and maintenance traineeship with East Gippsland Water, where he is learning more about the processes involved in providing water and wastewater services to households in his community. The proud father of two daughters Hazelle and Willow has just bought his first family home with partner Julia, following a period of hardship that he fought hard to overcome.
Customers will be able to operate within their entitlement volumes, the small number of customers requiring extra water should find temporary trade easy to secure
Road to change and recovery
Robbie is open about his difficult past, crediting his road to recovery to the birth of his first daughter five years ago. "I had serious drug and alcohol problems. I got myself into rehab and overcame meth and alcohol abuse. Having my daughter changed my whole life. I wanted to do better for her," he said.
Robbie is the youngest of four children and spent a considerable portion of his early years taking care of his mother Michelle who suffers from a rare form of cancer. He also spent some time working in the food industry, as a concreter and as an Aboriginal Education Support Officer working in family violence.
"I applied for the traineeship with East Gippsland Water because I wanted a change. Our waterways are very important to my culture and the whole community. I wanted to get a more in-depth look at how it all works and see what I can do to help my community. Our waterways are so important and everything comes from the land. That's pretty much what led me to East Gippsland Water," he said.
Robbie is 11-months into his traineeship and hopes to continue a career in the water industry once he has achieved his qualification. "I'd really like to pursue a role as a Koori Engagement Officer or something like that in the water industry."
"Our waterways are important and I'd like to do more work to educate people about our cultural links to water and how we can protect it in the future," he said.
Pictures from Southern Rural Water Twitter website.
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