Arnhem Hunter loves his job, but he’s not so enthusiastic about office work generally. “Too much time in a chair! You can feel your backside growing and the blood clots forming in your legs,” he says with a laugh. Arnhem is a Learning Support Worker with Goolarri Media Enterprises, and spends his days supporting students through online training courses. He is currently preparing to edit a training package with the faithful support of his desk fan, and then an after-work session of cycle sprints will counteract the effects of his sedentary day.
With a lifelong career as a rigger, scaffolder and crane operator, Arnhem knows what he’s talking about when it comes to workplace safety and training. He oversees a curriculum which covers everything from metal fabrication to forklift driving, and his motivation is straightforward. “My background is in high-risk work licences; my first rigging job was painting the side of Balmain’s local cinema from a bosun’s chair when I was fifteen. Forty years in I thought I’d better get off the tools and start teaching young blokes how not to get killed on mine sites.”
Unsurprisingly, it’s the achievements of his students which give him the most satisfaction. “I’ve taught people how to splice flexible steel wire rope, or to become pearl divers or martial artists. As a trainer, it’s always great to see people graduate or complete courses with new skills. That’s something they’ll take with them that will make a difference to their lives.”
“There’s great scope here for learning,” he adds. “Broome’s potential as an education centre has never explored International students. There have been a couple of attempts by universities, but there’s so much more to look at. The lifestyle makes it a great student town. You can cycle everywhere, swim year-round and sleep with just a sheet most nights – where else could you live like that? And we’ve got a unique set of circumstances for courses like teaching, nursing and aged care.”
As a member of the local Indigenous community, Arnhem’s connection to Broome is generations deep.
“I have ties to country and family here. I think the place itself is still so undiscovered, even with all the history. The rest of the world doesn’t realise how beautiful it is up here; it’s one of the last untouched wildernesses on the planet. There’s big potential in that, even just for eco-tourism. Research and renewable energy are other areas we could look at, especially tidal power and solar power.”
And his vision for the future?