Governor’s Aboriginal Employment Industry Clusters Forum 1: Aboriginal Student Engagement, 23 October 2015

The success stories of participants in an innovative industry-led program that has seen more than 660 Aboriginal people gain employment will be featured at a forum in Adelaide today.

Employment, Higher Education and Skills Minister Gail Gago said the Governor’s Aboriginal Employment Industry Clusters Program had assisted more than 1100 people with skills and training, leading to 663 people finding jobs.

A number of participants of the program feature in a series of videos to be presented today, as part of a forum which will focus on how to increase the number of young Aboriginal people going on to further study after school.

Ms Gago said the program, now in its fifth year, supports participating industries and employers to undergo systemic change to increase sustainable employment for Aboriginal people.

“This is done in a number of ways, including by helping employers increase and sustain the employment of Aboriginal people, helping Aboriginal people gain and sustain employment, raising the profile of participating industries that support Aboriginal students and job seekers, and connecting Aboriginal job seekers with job opportunities.”

The nine Aboriginal Employment Industry Clusters cover industries including:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Community Services
  • Energy, Water and Resources
  • Hospitality
  • Infrastructure (newly formed)
  • Legal Services
  • Local Government (newly formed)
  • The Public Sector

Ms Gago said today’s forum at the Adelaide Convention Centre will focus on increasing the pipeline of young Aboriginal people from school into further study, with a focus on non-traditional areas such as accounting, science, engineering and law.

It will also look at how employers, in partnership with schools, universities and other training organisations, can support this.

Featured in one of the videos is SA Water construction and maintenance worker Kenny Dixon who said he is keen to show younger people they should get out there and give it a go, rather than wait for it to be given to them.

“My kids are seeing me go to work every day and they know that’s part of life, so hopefully they’ll grow up in that routine, following my footsteps,” Mr Dixon said.

SA Water Workforce Sustainability Coordinator Shane Blogg said SA Water doesn’t just want to reach a target, they want to exceed it.

“I see Kenny as the same as the 31 other Aboriginal people that work within the organisation – that is, a positive role model,” Mr Blogg said.

“To be able to make a small change in the business, we’ve potentially made SA Water an employer of choice for Aboriginal people in South Australia.”

Other inspiring partnerships include:

  • Jacob Charles, a young Aboriginal electrical apprentice at SAGE Automation. Mr Charles was employed after he completed a pre-employment program that provided practical hands on experience and demonstrated what it entailed to work in Advanced Manufacturing.
  • Simona Marty, a cadet at KPMG. Ms Marty works part time while completing a double major in corporate finance and accounting at the University of Adelaide. KPMG is an advocate for Aboriginal employment and reconciliation and is committed to the Cluster program.

For more information about the program and additional success stories visit:

The program is a key contributor to the National Indigenous Reform Agreement target to halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians by 2018.

Papers relating to the Forum and the Governor’s Aboriginal Employment Industry Clusters Program:

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