Indigenous Internships Open Doors to Corporate Australia
25 November 2010 at 12:08 pm
A new Indigenous Internship Program called CareerTrackers is having some early success at placing talented Indigenous students in some of Australia’s leading companies, claiming to pave the way for greater diversity in the nation’s private sector.
CareerTrackers was established earlier this year as a Not for Profit social enterprise and has so far created over 30 internships with companies such as Microsoft Australia, Credit Suisse, Allen Consulting, Australian Conservation Foundation and SJB Architects.
School for Social Enterprise graduate Michael Combs says he started CareerTrackers with the goal of getting Aboriginal people into decision-making positions within corporate Australia, to grow business leaders and to ensure that Aboriginal voices are heard from the bush to the boardroom.
Combs says he first came up with the idea for CareerTrackers when he arrived in Australia in 2005 and realized there weren’t many indigenous Australians working in the private sector.
Researching the issue, Combs says he discovered that only 26% of indigenous Australians work in the private sector.
He says he knew there was an opportunity to create an internship program that would work with talented indigenous Australians, match them up with companies and ease them into employment.
Combs says for many of our Indigenous students, who are the first in their families to go to university, the internships are a dream come true – like for Grace Davidson from Armidale who has just been offered a internship this week from Microsoft Australia.
Simon Edwards, Microsoft Australia’s Director of Corporate Affairs, says Microsoft is committed to supporting Australia’s Indigenous community and they have been impressed by the calibre of the Indigenous students and the effectiveness of the Career Trackers model.
Combs says the program is expanding nationally and is set to offer 200 internships by 2015.
The early success and growth of CareerTrackers has been made possible by the support of organisations such as Social Ventures Australia and the School for Social Entrepreneurs – an organisation dedicated to the development and increased capacity of social entrepreneurs like Michael Combs.
The Melbourne and Sydney 9-month SSE Programs commence in February 2011.
For more information on Career Trackers: www.careertrackers.org.au