The Australian reconciliation movement has been growing since the 1980s. It’s about building better relationships between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous Australians. In a reconciled Australia, First Nations rights will be championed in all the places that matter.
I’m a proud Wiradjuri man myself, proud to be Serco as well, and proud that we’ve recently launched our third Reconciliation Action Plan, including a commitment to continue growing and supporting our First Nations colleague community.
Attracting and retaining First Nations colleagues can be very challenging. Those leading the way are wrapping consistent proactive effort around genuine intention to be a better employer for Community. The Serco First Nations Employment Hub is part of how we will deliver our commitment – a culturally sensitive program for First Nations peoples to secure employment, gain experience and grow professionally.
I always wanted a proper corporate career but never imagined it could happen.
Shante Badger is one of our Hub ‘aspirants’ – a proud Gadigal/Dunghutti woman and single mother. Shante has been in and out of jobs, mostly retail and hospitality, since leaving school 13 years ago. She discovered the Hub through a job search agency after several months of unemployment.
“It grabbed my attention immediately,” says Shante. “Most of the time, people hiring First Nations employees are just ticking boxes. There’s no thought or care to it. The Hub offered real support and opportunity – it was exciting.”
One of the biggest obstacles First Nations peoples can face in securing employment and climbing onto the career ladder are hostile attitudes and behaviours ingrained in society:
“Many find that stereotyping and scapegoating block their path at every turn. It’s extremely hard to break through when nobody trusts and believes in you. Very few doors are open. Fewer are welcoming.”
Shante was very quickly welcomed into Serco as a bid administrator in our corporate office, where she has just celebrated the first anniversary of her new career. “I always wanted a proper corporate career,” she says, “but never imagined it could happen. Everyone is so nice, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the people. I’ve never experienced that before.”
As well as training, experience and networking, the Hub comprises multiple support pillars. The most meaningful of these for Shante are Serco’s cultural training for managers and the cultural mentor assigned to each aspirant. The cultural mentor facilitates connection and understanding between aspirant and organisation, helping them learn to work well with each other.
“Many employers don’t recognise – let alone understand – the issues endured by many First Nations peoples and the cultural and community responsibilities that govern us all. In Serco I see a company trying harder to understand and be flexible in ways that will really help First Nations peoples to improve their lives and add value. I’ve not seen that anywhere else. It’s been really good for me.”
Indigenous Programs Manager and Chair of the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, Serco Asia Pacific
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