Efforts to increase Aboriginal employment

The Mid West Aboriginal Workforce Development Centre (AWDC) is working to overcome the road blocks preventing Aboriginal people from getting jobs by hosting its second ‘Working in Partnerships’ forum on October 23.

Following the success of last year’s forum, the centre will again urge the business community to attend the forum to identify the barriers towards employing Aboriginal people and the actions that can help overcome these barriers.

Attendees will have the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker Sue Gordon, a retired Aboriginal magistrate who was born at Belele Station near Meekatharra.

Despite being a member of the ‘stolen generation’, Dr Gordon went on to establish a remarkable career, and received an Order of Australia in 1993. 

Forum spokesperson Rob Jefferies urged businesses to attend to have their say on what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to employing Aboriginal staff.  

“Last year the forum adopted the approach of a 360-degree look at all the stakeholders and the barriers between each of the stakeholder groups, as opposed to simply identifying barriers for Aboriginal people,” Mr Jefferies said. 

“This year we would like to build on last year’s work by starting to map and create some solutions to help overcome these barriers.” 

Attendees will hear from a range of guest speakers who will impart their experiences in relation to employing Aboriginal staff.

They will also learn about the many programs on offer to help businesses benefit from taking on Aboriginal employees. The full-day forum will conclude with canapés and mocktails.

Mr Jefferies said Dr Gordon’s participation in the forum was a real coup for the event.

“Sue Gordon is one remarkable woman,” he said.

“After a career in the army she started her long and distinguished career working mostly in Aboriginal affairs.

“She became the Aboriginal Planning Commissioner in 1986, making her the first Aboriginal person to head a government department in Western Australia, and in 1988 she was appointed as a magistrate in Perth Children’s Court to become the State’s first full-time Aboriginal magistrate.

“She worked as one of the first commissioners of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in 1990 and, in 2002, she headed an inquiry into family violence and child abuse in Western Australian Aboriginal communities that became known as the Gordon Inquiry.

“Two years later she headed the new National Indigenous Council to advise the Federal Government.

“She really is an inspiration and an incredible role model for Aboriginal people.”

AWDC is a State Government Department of Training and Workforce Development initiative to create sustainable employment for Aboriginal people. 

For more information on the Working in Partnerships Forum, or to register, please contact Vickie Peterson on (08) 9964 6345 or Jodi McGuire on 08 9964 6088