INDIGENOUS SKILLS DEVELOPMENT Evaluating the Recruitment, Training and Retention of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce 16 September 2011 Paper presented by Professor Nereda White Australian Catholic University
SOME OF THE QUESTIONS WE NEED TO ADDRESS AT THIS FORUM:
What are the barriers to Indigenous people getting and keeping jobs?
What skills and knowledge do Indigenous people need for successful participation in the workforce?
In what ways can employers support Indigenous workers?
What are some good case studies that we can learn from?
What further research needs to be undertaken on Indigenous employment experiences?
INDIGENOUS PARTICIPATION IN THE LABOUR FORCE
In 2008, almost 54% of the Indigenous working-age population was employed, compared with 75% of the non‑Indigenous working-age population (Rudd, 2010).
Indigenous people in regional areas were more likely to have jobs with lower skill levels than non-Indigenous people, and were much less likely to be self employed (Productivity Commission, 2009).
The challenge facing Indigenous Australians when they leave supported employment schemes and move into the mainstream labour market.
Indigenous Australians are much more dependent on public or community sector employment than non-Indigenous people and are under-represented in the private sector.
CHALLENGES TO EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION IN THE LABOUR MARKET
Low levels of educational attainment, particularly low levels of language, literacy and numeracy especially in remote and very remote areas
WORKFORCE FUTURES – a National Workforce Development Strategy for Australia (2010) : Our objectives are to sustain economic growth, avoid future skills shortages and raise productivity by increasing and deepening the skills of Australia’s workforce. Critical to achieving these will be our ability to lift the rate of workforce participation for those groups of people who are not participating to their full potential, including those who are marginalised due to a lack of skills, particularly the foundation skills of language, literacy and numeracy.
High interaction with the crime justice system,
with a remarkably high rate of arrest among Indigenous youth
Lower levels of employment opportunities in rural than in urban areas and in Indigenous communities
Labour market discrimination
Workplace culture and the level of support for employees
Lack of experience
Lack of aspirations to work and role models
Lack of confidence
Poor interview technique
Lack of appropriate workplace communication skills
Difference in skill-sets
Cultural factors, family and Community obligations
INDIGENOUS PARTICIPATION IN THE MINING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES
Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and the Federal Government in June 2005
Indigenous participation in the mining/construction industry has increased
Indigenous participation has remained marginal despite this growth
Relatively high turnover rates for Aboriginal employees and trainees
Over-represented in low skilled jobs while under-represented in higher level jobs
The challenging situation of having temporary employment and difficult physical access to mine work
OTHER BARRIERS INCLUDE:
A lack of education and relevant training to work in the mining-construction industries
Balancing family and community obligations with the demands of full-time work, especially with the FIFO arrangements
Poor work behaviours
Poor health or lack of work fitness
A lack of exposure to the mainstream workforce
Challenge of moving from a welfare to work psychology
Housing and accommodation
Lack of support from extended family for people entering the mining workforce
VET and TAFE Education and training plays a critical role in enhancing the potential productivity of the Indigenous workforce. Indigenous participation in the VET sector has recently increased remarkably, however Indigenous completion rates are low and withdrawal rates are much higher for Indigenous than non-Indigenous students (Mangan & Trendle, 2010). High cancellation rates means low progression rates to skilled employment (Alford & James, 2007). Indigenous VET students also tend to be enrolled in lower level certificates.
INITIATIVES AND STRATEGIES - ADDRESSING THE ISSUES
Indigenous Employment Program
Industry initiatives and partnerships with communities
Reconciliation Action Plans
What is the experience of Indigenous workers in the mining and construction industries like?
What are the perceptions and employment aspirations of Indigenous workers for the mining and construction industries?
How can the recruitment and retention of Indigenous workers in the mining and construction industries be improved?
What are the best practices for the recruitment, participation and retention of Indigenous Trainees/Cadets in the mining and construction industries? How do they work?