Award-winning programme launches Indigenous careers

The Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme (IAP) has finished for another year, launching the public service careers of 238 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Apprentices from across Australia recently gathered in Canberra for their graduation, and were treated to performances from Indigenous dance group Djuki Mala and ‘The Voice’ grand finalist, Kristal West.

Kristal West performing at the IAP graduation.

One recent graduate is Adam Spittles, a Wiradjuri man originally from Parkes and Dubbo in Central NSW, and now based in Brisbane.

“The day I got the call with the offer, I was filled with joy because it was something I never thought I would get,” Adam said.

“As a young teenager, I was quite rebellious and dropped out of school in year eight.

“I moved away from my friends and family, and after a few years of living in Sydney I made my way to Brisbane.

“I was 18 years old at the time, and without a high school education I was scared of the prospect of finding a job.

“A friend eventually suggested I apply for the IAP and I haven’t looked back.”

Adam Spittles, former Indigenous Apprentice.

As part of the programme, apprentices receive a nationally recognised certificate or diploma level qualification, along with a full time entry-level position and a competitive salary.

“This year I’ve completed a Diploma of Government, which has inspired me to begin further studies in social work,” Adam said.

“I want others considering enrolling to know that you can do anything, or become anyone if you apply yourself. Lack of education doesn’t have to hold your back.”

The Department of Human Services leads recruitment for the programme, which spans across multiple government agencies and organisations.

Adam is one of more than 900 apprentices who have joined the Australian Public Service through the programme since 2015, 650 of whom have joined the Department of Human Services.

Indigenous dance group Djuki Mala at the IAP graduation.

Recruitment for the programme in 2017 saw the department exceed its five per cent Indigenous staffing target. The proportion of Indigenous staff employed by the department currently sits at 5.3 per cent.

The success of the programme was recognised with the ‘Stan Grant Indigenous Employment Award’ at the 2018 Australian Human Resources Institute Awards.

It recognises excellence in Indigenous employment initiatives and programs in the workplace.

Indigenous Employment Strategies Team with their Stan Grant Indigenous Employment Award.

Indigenous Employment Strategies Assistant Director, Robbie Enchong said it was an honour to be awarded.

“Our team is incredibility passionate about the work we do, and we’re committed to increasing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders,” Robbie said.

“This award is recognition of that and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved over the last four years.”

Applications for the next intake will open during 2019.

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