Indi is home to many hidden secrets, businesses that are innovative and exciting right on our doorstep. One of those hidden secrets is Helico Australia where, inside an old hay shed on the outskirts of Alexandra, you will find a team of 18 staff repairing and rebuilding helicopters from all over the country. Helico specialises in the deep maintenance and rebuilds of Robinson helicopters, small choppers that are used predominantly for agricultural work such as mustering. Run by locals Hylke and Neri Kijlstra, over the last seven years Helico has gone from strength to strength, growing the number of locals employed and training 12 apprentices. Each apprenticeship takes four years of study and work, highlighting their commitment to upskilling young people and growing the next generation of the aviation industry.

Helico is also undertaking research and development, exploring ways to manufacture more parts for helicopters on site, rather than ordering them in from overseas. This is making the process of maintenance quicker and more cost efficient, with a better product at the end too. We need more employers like Hylke and Neri all over Australia, people who value their workers, their community and their industry and look at the bigger picture. I say to the jobs and skills minister, the industry minister and the transport minister: come to Indi and meet Hylke and Neri.

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