CLOS­ING THE GAP

HELP ACHIEVE CUL­TURAL EQUAL­ITY IN OUR WORK­PLACES

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Front Page -

W ORKPLACES will­ing to cre­ate cul­tural equal­ity are urged to step for­ward. As or­gan­i­sa­tions ad­dress is­sues such as gen­der di­ver­sity and ageism, work­ers are re­minded Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­landers face their own hur­dles and over­com­ing th­ese not only leads to bet­ter work­places, but a bet­ter na­tion.

For Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Week, work­ers are asked to con­sider what role they can play.

An al­liance be­tween Yarn’n Abo­rig­i­nal Em­ploy­ment Ser­vices and re­cruit­ment firm Rand­stad, for ex­am­ple, aims to this year place at least 100 in­dige­nous can­di­dates in roles rang­ing from en­try-level to se­nior po­si­tions, in in­dus­tries from con­struc­tion to busi­ness.

Rand­stad Aus­tralia and New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive Frank Ri­bout says they have al­ready placed 40 work­ers in just three months.

“I’m very con­scious of the fact . . . we have re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to make sure all seg­ments of the pop­u­la­tion can ac­cess roles,” he says.

“We are try­ing to find em­ploy­ers will­ing to adapt their re­cruit­ment process to al­low peo­ple to present them­selves in the best light.

“(We) pro­vide sup­port on an on­go­ing ba­sis through coach­ing to make sure if there are is­sues in their pri­vate life, they won’t af­fect their pro­fes­sional life. We make sure they can stay.”

Ri­bout says col­leagues can also do their bit to help by not see­ing in­dige­nous Aus­tralians as one pop­u­la­tion but a mix­ture of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent back­grounds.

Ser­ena Trencher, gen­eral man­ager of re­mote and re­gional re­cruit­ment com­pany Dow­nun­der Peo­ple, says many com­pa­nies may be un­aware of the ben­e­fits of hir­ing in­dige­nous staff.

“Ben­e­fits can in­clude im­proved staff re­ten­tion, suc­ces­sion plan­ning, gov­ern­ment fund­ing, more eas­ily fill­ing va­can­cies in re­mote and re­gional lo­ca­tions (and) cul­ture knowl­edge,” she says.

Trencher says po­si­tions deal­ing with land rights, in­dige­nous stake­hold­ers and boards are best filled by in­dige­nous work­ers.

She says there is de­mand in ar­eas with large in­dige­nous pop­u­la­tions for med­i­cal skills and ex­pe­ri­ence in in­dige­nous health as well as trade-qual­i­fied work­ers, par­tic­u­larly in re­frig­er­a­tion or com­mer­cial cook­ery.

MAX­I­MUM OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES RE BE KAH AIMS TO BEAT THE STIGMA

WHEN in­dige­nous Aus­tralian Re­bekah Carr moved to the city she came across em­ploy­ment ser­vice Max­ima and knew she had to get in­volved.

She made the switch from health­care to com­mu­nity work, first with an ad­min­is­tra­tion role then in re­cruit­ment.

“I’m the Job­s4Youth co-or­di­na­tor so I re­cruit for State Gov­ern­ment and fo­cus on find­ing dis­ad­van­taged young peo­ple to fill roles,” she says.

“There is lots of stigma (around in­dige­nous work­ers) so it’s def­i­nitely a pas­sion of mine to get as many in­dige­nous peo­ple into em­ploy­ment as pos­si­ble and close the gap. We have a mas­sive case load of in­dige­nous job­seek­ers try­ing to find em­ploy­ment.”

Max­ima’s Vo­ca­tional Train­ing and Em­ploy­ment Cen­tre pro­gram in­volves analysing skills, up­dat­ing re­sumes, ac­tion plans, and on­go­ing men­tor­ing.

Pic­ture: STEPHEN LAFFER

OUT­REACH: Re­cruiter Re­bekah Carr.

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