Engaging Indigenous employees

Australia’s local governments have been employers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for many years.

However there are still too few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in policy or managerial roles.

Developing an Indigenous employment strategy is the first step towards employing Indigenous workers but these initiatives on their own are no guarantee to either successful recruitment or to retaining workers.

In 2006, Reconciliation Australia launched the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program to provide a framework for organisations wanting to meaningfully contribute to reconciliation.

The RAP program outlines practical actions an organisation can take to build strong relationships and enhance respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

RAPs are about building respect and creating relationships that open up opportunities for new and improved business and employment.

Through these commitments, Reconciliation Australia and their RAP partners are facilitating the creation of many thousands of jobs, in industries that have not historically been employers of Indigenous workers.

Reconciliation Australia’s model of building strong relationships and enhancing respect to achieve sustainable employment and business opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has informed their Workplace Ready Program.

The program, which began in 2012, is being delivered in partnership with the Australian Government.

The Workplace Ready Program offers an online toolkit to guide users through the step by step process of recruiting, retaining and promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The advantages of a culturally diverse workforce are well documented and promote a sense of community.

Additionally, from a business perspective it makes good sense to reach out and access new markets and customers.

There are now nearly 500 Australian organisations with a RAP, 27 of which are local governments.

You can visit the website at www.reconciliation.org.au/workplace.