25/02/2020 - 14:12

Oakley-Nicholls makes business move

25/02/2020 - 14:12

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Former AFL footballer and Wirrpanda Foundation executive Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls is off to a flying start in the business sector, after establishing Oaks Civil Construction and buying a traffic management business in Geraldton.

Oakley-Nicholls makes business move
Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls says the next step for the business is to establish a bigger footprint in WA's metropolitan area. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Former AFL footballer and Wirrpanda Foundation executive Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls is off to a flying start in the business sector, after establishing Oaks Civil Construction and buying a traffic management business in Geraldton.

Mr Oakley-Nicholls founded Oaks Civil Construction in September last year, with the aim of providing sustainable employment opportunities for Aboriginal people.

Four months after its launch, Oaks Civil Construction completed the acquisition of Midwest Traffic Controllers, a move that Mr Oakley-Nicholls said was a risk for the company but was paying off so far.

“We’ve been able to hit the ground running with the acquisition, and I think it’s been a positive step forward for us as a business,” Mr Oakley-Nicholls told Business News.

“If we didn’t acquire Midwest Traffic Controllers, we would have been coming to the industry very green and inexperienced.”

Mr Oakley-Nicholls noted his familial and cultural connections to Western Australia’s Mid West, prompting his decision to acquire the Geraldton business.

The former footballer played 13 games at Richmond Football Club between 2006 and 2009, and was rookie-listed at West Coast Eagles in 2010.

As part of his tenure at Wirrpanda Foundation, Mr Oakley-Nicholls said he had assisted businesses and industries in achieving indigenous participation targets for more than eight years.

“There was a point in my life where I thought I had a bigger role to play,” he said.

“It’s exciting, and we’re really enjoying our time so far… we’ve really gained the momentum that we needed.”

Mr Oakley-Nicholls, who is the managing director and majority owner of Oaks Civil Construction, said the business had secured nine traffic management contracts, predominantly in the Mid West, since completing the acquisition.

Headquartered in West Perth, Oaks Civil Construction employs 55 indigenous and local staff, including 30 who transitioned from Midwest Traffic Controllers, while the remaining employees were recruited locally.

Mr Oakley-Nicholls has ruled out further acquisitions for the foreseeable future, saying the business would focus primarily on the quality of its services.

“We don’t want to grow too big too quick, because that’s when you start creating cracks, and you’ll start doing a disservice to your clients,” he said.

“We’ve got our foot in the door and now it’s just a matter of really focusing on our services and giving our clients the best services possible, doing things on time, on budget and in a safe and productive manner.”

Mr Oakley-Nicholls said the next step for the business would be to increase its footprint in Perth, noting Oaks Civil Construction already had a presence in both the Mid West and Gascoyne regions.

The company has formed a strategic partnership with the Training Alliance Group (TAG), also a shareholder of Oaks Civil Construction, which offers qualified Aboriginal people with direct access to potential employment opportunities.

“We have carefully looked at the needs of Aboriginal job seekers across WA, particularly those living in regional areas such as the Mid West,” Mr Oakley-Nicholls said.

“Having spent considerable time supporting and assisting our mob, which has included helping people access education, I realised that education without having a possible job to go was an ongoing challenge.

“By linking the two together – entry level accredited training and the possibility of obtaining a direct job opportunity – I think we’ve got a winning formula.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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