Kane Flavell and Brodie McGhie have got their foot in the door of the building industry thanks to a partnership between the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation and national construction company Hansen Yuncken.
After months of unemployment interspersed with odd jobs, the two are now hard at work on the Wollongong Hospital rebuild and gaining lifelong skills.
"It's my first job in the construction industry, I've been given a great opportunity," Mr McGhie, 19, of Oak Flats said.
"The team here are like a family, they really care about how you're going."
Figtree resident Mr Flavell, 20, is now working six days a week, also as a general labourer on the build, which is set to finish in June 2015.
"I found it hard to get work in the Illawarra. Now I'm learning everything, not just one trade."
Warrigal Employment, part of the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation, formed a partnership with PSG People Labour Hire and Hansen Yuncken to create more opportunities for Aboriginal jobseekers in civil construction.
Warrigal Employment manager Basilia McGaw said it had been a highly successful partnership.
"Warrigal Employment strives to open doors in employment for the local Aboriginal community and this partnership has provided opportunities that have been embraced by Brodie and Kane," she said.
"We are all working together to reduce youth unemployment in the Illawarra and these partnerships with big business are a crucial part of that role."
Meanwhile, Hansen Yuncken senior project manager Greg Denaro said due to the success of the partnership, the concept had been embraced by the company on a national level.
"Due to this, we are starting workshops within Hansen Yuncken nationally to see how we can engage better with the local communities in which we are working in terms of employment," he said.