Indigenous Employment Strategy

Kondinin Shire Council

 

 

 

 

Background
The Shire of Kondinin is located in the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. It covers an area of some 7,373 sq km and is home to the famous ‘Wave Rock’, a site of special significance for Indigenous people and a major tourist attraction. Kondinin Shire has a population of over 1,200 people and the Council has a staff of 35.

The town of Kondinin has had a resident population of Nyoongar people for many decades. Unfortunately, many of them were unemployed and facing the prospect of trans-generational unemployment. Up until 1983, Nyoongar people were heavily involved in shearing and land clearing. The wide-comb shearing dispute that year is widely regarded as the beginning of entrenched unemployment amongst Nyoongar people.

In 2005, the Shire was heavily reliant on a workforce based outside of Kondinin. An opportunity was identified which could potentially:

  • reduce the need for the reliance on an external or transient workforce,
  • create a local pool of skilled workers,
  • increase employment for the local Nyoongar people and
  • meet the construction needs of the Shire by completing a much-needed roadworks program.

Aim
The Shire of Kondinin wished to increase the level of participation of local Indigenous people employed within local government.

Outcomes
From 2006-2007, 15 Indigenous people were recruited as part of this Indigenous Employment Strategy

  • 80% of those recruited under the strategy remain employed in 2012
  • Of those still employed, over half (58%) remain employed by the Shire
  • Of those still employed 42% have gone on to work in external companies providing services to the Shire.

Methods
Red Ochre Consulting used an approach that involved two distinct stages: preparation and implementation.

The preparation stage included:

  • engaging employer organisations,
  • conducting a needs assessment,
  • engaging the community,
  • engaging job network providers and
  • formalizing these relationships.

The implementation stage included:

  • providing information to employers,
  • securing ongoing employer commitment,
  • accessing funding support schemes,
  • engaging mentors and
  • employing candidates.

Results
Using the 2-stage approach developed by Red Ochre Consulting meant that the Shire of Kondinin was successful in attracting a significant proportion of local Indigenous people to work for the Shire.

A major outcome of the strategy is the 80% retention rate of Indigenous people in employment. This is a tremendous result given the myriad opportunities now existing in WA and the Wheatbelt region for Indigenous people with good skills, qualifications and experience.

As a result of this high employment rate, the community has high stability. A high proportion of the income earned through employment is spent locally. The downstream effect of the strategy has been to boost the local economy.

Most exciting of all is that a high proportion (almost half) of those employed by the Shire have then gone on to gain employment outside of local government in commercial companies.

This result in Kondinin is widely seen as one of the most successful in the Southern Region of WA where employment opportunities are scarce when compared to other sections of the state where mining is established and provides employment.

Critical Success Factors
A systematic, methodological approach to the development, implementation and monitoring of an Indigenous Employment Strategy that is practical and focused on what is required to achieve outcomes.

An approach to Indigenous employment that is open to adopting work patterns that recognize that commitments to family, culture and country require flexibility. Examples of this include job sharing and block employment.

A strategy that includes:

  • a highly committed and supportive employer,
  • direct engagement of job network providers,
  • planned medium and long term support for employees,
  • development and roll-out of a mentoring program,
  • provision of targeted, effective training,
  • facilitating the acquisition of basic employment pre-requisites (such as licenses and trade tickets) and
  • flexibility on the part of management.
 

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