Business Urged to Commit to Aboriginal Employment
Thursday, 24th August 2006 at 1:08 pm
Australian businesses have been urged to be more proactive in employing Aboriginal people to fill the nation’s skills shortage.
An Aboriginal Employment Forum held in Sydney recently, organised by the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) and Diversity Council Australia (DCA) saw over 50 businesses hear about how they can increase their Aboriginal workforce.
DCA Managing Director, Rohan Squirchuk says employing more Aboriginal people is good for both the business and the Aboriginal community:
Squirchuk says employment provides tangible outcomes to improve Aboriginal people’s lives. Recruiting from the entire pool of Australia’s talent 100% of the time is good for business.
The forum heard that in these times of labour market shortages Aboriginal people represent a pool of untapped talented and committed people.
Danny Lester, AES Chief Executive says the AES has been successful in achieving employment outcomes for Aboriginal people across their seven offices in NSW.
He says his organisation is already working with some of Australia’s largest companies to get more Aboriginal people working in the private sector.
The forum was about introducing the need for business to commit to Aboriginal employment, how the AES and DCA can work with them and how Aboriginal people can be a part of filling the skills gap that exists.
Lester says reports indicate that there will be a shortfall of 195,000 workers in the Australian workforce by 2010 and Australia should be focusing on skilling the thousands of Aboriginal people capable of working but who just need the opportunity.
Daryl Pearce, Director of the Lingiari Policy Centre, a key note speaker at the forum, stressed the importance that employment can play in improving the lives of Aboriginal people.
He says having a job is central to an individual’s self-esteem; when you have a job you can feed yourself and your family, pay the rent and have the pride to encourage your kids to go to school.
The Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) is an employment organisation with 100% Aboriginal staff receiving nominal funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and Corporate Australia. AES mentors Aboriginal people looking for work and places them into positions with local businesses and industry.
AES approach is about work, not welfare. It aims to build pride, passion and commitment in Aboriginal communities and to build partnerships between Aboriginal communities and private enterprise.
In 2003 the AES opened an office in Tamworth and in Dubbo in 2004. It further expanded in November 2005 with the opening of offices in Sydney in Glebe and Blacktown and Maitland in the Hunter Valley. A corporate office to manage the six sites also opened.
For more information about the AES visit: www.aboriginalemploymentstrategy.com.au