Good News Stories

Addressing Aboriginal Employment Challenges - A Holistic Approach

9 June, 2021

Our organisation is designed to be the place that provides our people with the confidence they need to achieve their goals.

We are here so they can experience the feeling of walking in our doors, knowing their career aspirations are being heard - and taken seriously.

But even with our specialist staff working hard on the ground to make this happen - we still face some huge challenges that are difficult to overcome. 

My staff in this space have to be experts in the field of communication. Not just with clients - but with all job providers and employers around, to really market our job seeking clients. 

But many times, the biggest challenges we have are overcoming the extenuating circumstances for the job keeper themselves. These can be difficult (and sometimes impossible) for our team to navigate. 

Until we, as a broader community acknowledge and address these challenges, there will continue to be roadblocks towards the success of our people.

Finding the right role in a regional town

Of course, one of the key Aboriginal employment challenges is finding the right role for the candidate, in a jobs market that is difficult - at the best of times. 

The Western region in New South Wales has so much to offer. So at REDI.E, we take it upon ourselves to create opportunities for our clients. If the right role does not exist - can it be created? 

A fantastic example of this is our recent project in collaboration with the Wilcannia Community Working Party, WaterNSW, Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly (MPRA) and TAFE NSW. Together we developed and implemented a training program to equip local Aboriginal people with job-ready skills in construction. This way they will be prime candidates for the Wilcannia Weir Replacement project.  

We are always looking for new partners to collaborate with, to bring employment opportunities to our communities. 

It is investment in our region that will truly bridge the gap and help our people prosper.

Personal challenges to overcome

There are so many stages on the journey towards finding a job - especially after long term employment. 

When some people walk through our door, it is because they don’t know where to start - and REDI.E is the best entry point.

Often, the client is not sure what they want to do, and are not fully aware of their own skillset.   

Alongside this, once a decision has been made to pursue an area that interests them - there is still often confusion around what that role involves - or what employers are expecting. 

Our staff will go through

  • What kind of roles might be interesting - and exactly what will be expected of them in that job
  • Any short courses that may need to be completed
  • Any other jobs or pre employment programs they may be able to start in, that will act as a stepping stone in that industry

We talk about being ‘job ready’ as someone who has done the courses and put the resume together. However, depending on the client, our staff may also need to go through the personal adjustments that will need to be made.  

Is the client ready for this responsibility? Do they have the right attitude? 

Some of our clients have not worked before, so we need to help develop a new routine that focuses around work.

Outside logistics affecting Aboriginal employment outcomes

Alongside all the challenges mentioned above, there are often other logistical obstacles to overcome, to help transition someone into work. 

This might include something as simple as transport. Does the client have a licence, or access to a vehicle to get to work? Is public transport accessible?

Or - it can sometimes be a more complex issue - such as family circumstances.

We all know that our chances of success are hugely increased when we are in a supportive environment.

Unfortunately, not all our clients have the benefit of this. 

Some of the people that come through our doors might be the first person in their family that’s ever strived for employment. 

So, the objective of our team is to find a way to ensure they communicate with family members, to go through the positive impacts on their circumstances, should our client find a job.

We talk about what happens when people are financially achieving - the avenues it opens and the roll on effect for others. 

Workplaces can be wonderful. They can be an environment where continued learning is encouraged, where relationships are built and networks are established. 

However, if you’ve never been part of one before - and having a steady job has never been modelled for you by others in your family - how are you to know this?

Spreading the message

At REDI.E - we believe we have a responsibility, to spread the word far and wide - having First Nations people in your workplace will bring immeasurable benefits.

It’s about opening up an honest and respectful conversation about culture. Imagine the value that would be found if your staff were able to learn more about First Nations people. Imagine the value to be found if our mob could chat about their culture at work, with people who were interested to hear all about it.

Having our people in your organisation will help your workers learn about country and connection. 

We know many businesses are part of the conversation. And that’s fantastic.

But equity and diversity strategies need to be backed up with real action.

Everyone has a part to play

When it seems like the challenges are mounting, and it’s all a bit hard - our role is clear. 

We need to be a place of support. Our people in our communities know we are here for them. We’ve got the kettle boiling, come have a cup of tea - we can have a chat.

About your goals, your dreams, your fears and whatever else might be holding you back. 

The staff that work within REDI.E are part of your network. They are a connection to you, your family and country. 

Our workforce are your mob. They are family, they are aunties and uncles and cousins, 

It is the absolute pride of our organisation. We understand these challenges, we are here to ensure that you have access to everything you need, to support getting you into a position and start you on your journey of finding work.



This initiative is funded/supported by the Australian Government.

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