Land Rights News Central Australia: Land Rights News (April 2010)

Published: April, 2010

Mentoring plays crucial role for stockmen

They are Les McLaughlin and Richard Kopp, who are experienced Aboriginal stockmen in Central Australia.

Mr Kopp said the young men are learning the latest in stock and horse handling techniques.

“It’s excellent, seeing them work with Geoff (trainer Geoff Twombey) because it’s a completely different method to what they’re probably used to,” he said.

“All the station people are wanting more station workers now and this is a good program to do and is spot on. What they’ve been taught here is it’s easier than the old ways and it’s a lot quicker and a lot simpler and it’s a lot safer.”

Mr Kopp said the trainers and mentors are thrilled when their students progress to jobs.

“Whoever does (get work), it’s a feather in our cap I spose,” he said.

Mr McLaughlin said he’d had his father as a mentor and even though he is now a mentor for young Aboriginal stockmen, he also learns from them.

“I sort of left home and went out on my own when I was 14 or 15, I started working on stations and yeah just jumped from here to there and what not and learnt a fair bit working with older fellas too,” he said.

“Got the job at NTCA now and it’s good and it helps me understand myself as well to understand other people and the way they work and also to help these young fellas get started is a big thing for me and seeing them go somewhere with it.”

Mr McLaughlin said any theme or message he has for aspiring young stockmen is simple.

“I spose more just trying to show them that if you get out there and give it the best you’ve got you’ll get rewarded at the end of it.

"If you can sit through it all and do it and get it done and you get a lot more out of it and you feel a lot better for yourself to be able to wake up in the morning and say, 'Look I’ve got a good job to go to. I get paid every week. I’ve got a home, I’ve got a house and just showing them what life’s about I spose and that it can be done.”