Agunya moves to bigger, better Broome workshop to help change lives of at-risk youths

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Bronte Berenger, Andy Greig and Ian Hudson at Agunya's workshop in Broome.
Camera IconBronte Berenger, Andy Greig and Ian Hudson at Agunya's workshop in Broome. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr/Broome Advertiser, Tom Zaunmayr

A community enterprise is reaching out to the business community to build relationships between at-risk youths and employers as it prepares to celebrate the opening of its new digs in Broome.

Agunya runs workshops in the Kimberley that teach at-risk individuals life skills relevant to the building and construction industry in an effort to find long-term solutions for disadvantaged youth.

Agunya managing director Andy Greig said while on the face of it making furniture was a fun way to pass time, it put people in good stead for careers down the line.

“They are risk-takers these kids, so we (need to) provide them the opportunity to take risks and being an artist is taking a risk,” he said.

“If you are looking at a twisted, gnarled piece of timber and a rusty old piece of steel and you create something beautiful out of it you are taking a risk; you are stepping outside what you know and putting effort into it.

Agunya's Andy Greig with assistant supervisor Aaron Shandley at work in Broome.
Camera IconAgunya's Andy Greig with assistant supervisor Aaron Shandley at work in Broome. Credit: Broome Advertiser

“That finished product when it is shiny and looking like it will serve its purpose, whether it is a breadboard, chair or table, that is the sense of satisfaction and that is when you see the change.”

Agunya has operated out of a commercial space in Broome and is now moving to a new space with a more fitting feel to it.

Its new premise out the back of Town Beach is an open-air workshop which aims to create a similar to what one may find out in communities, stations and farms, which creates a welcome sense of familiarity and casualness for those who walk through the gates.

“We have moved out of ... a workshop in a little industrial cul-de-sac into a big yard with trees, space and have been able to set up a much more creative space around us,” Mr Greig said.

“For us now it is about creating that space and opportunities to try different life skills.

They are risk-takers these kids, so we (need to) provide them the opportunity to take risks and being an artist is taking a risk

Andy Greig

The organisation has also ramped up its efforts to connect young people with potential employers.

“We have been working on forming relationships with small businesses around town so we can mentor businesses and build relationships with young local people,” Mr Greig said.

“That young person might be too young to start work but this is about building relationships

“We need these kids to be spending time with small business owners who are ultimately going to be able to provide the opportunity for these kids to stay on the right path.”

Mr Grieg said these efforts would help at-risk youths imagine “something better”.

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