Aussie equipment hire firm Coates wins APIC Partner of the Year Award

Murray Vitlich, Chief Executive Officer at Coates

Coates, equipment hire and solutions provider, has been honoured for its practise, leadership and innovation with First Nations people winning the APIC Partner of the Year award at the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (NSWICC) Infrastructure and Construction Awards.

Held at the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley, the company (Coates) was awarded the NSWICC APIC (Aboriginal Participation in Construction Policy) Partner of the Year Award, and was runner up for the Outstanding Organisational Contribution to Indigenous Advocacy & Capability Award, while Alana McCarthy (a second-year apprentice with Coates at its Beresfield branch) was a finalist in the Indigenous Apprentice / Trainee of the Year Award.

Why was Coates win in the category?

In 2020, the company unveiled its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), the Reflect RAP, and earlier this year announced its second Reconciliation Action Plan, Innovate. Since the launch of the inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan, Coates has increased its First Nations employee representation by more than 300%, to 37 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.

To achieve their reconciliation goals, the company announced a target First Nations employee representation rate of 2.5% of total headcount by 2025 and has achieved a rate of 1.8%.

In addition, through partnering with organisations such as the NSWICC, the company has increased its First Nations supplier pool by more than 300% since the inaugural RAP was unveiled, and by approximately 100% during FY22 alone. Furthermore, it has spent more than $3.2m with its First Nations supplier pool in FY22, an increase of about 120%.

What were the executive’s thoughts on the recognition?

Commenting on the recognition, Murray Vitlich, CEO, Coates, said, “We are extremely proud of our work with First Nations people, communities and suppliers, and these awards are a validation of the incredible amount of progress we’ve made in such a short time.”

“The NSWICC sees us as a company dedicated to driving real change and positive progress with Aboriginal and Torres strait islander peoples and businesses, which is a great honour.”

“We have learned so much about First Nations histories, customs and protocols. Through partnering with firms such as the NSWICC, we’ve realised the genuine work that needs to be done to enact real change, and we are dedicated to continuing our commitment,” said Vitlich.