Employer driven demand for Indigenous workers remains strong, not only as a result of government policies aimed at increasing the employment rates of Indigenous Australians, but due to increased realisation of the value and skills that Aboriginal people bring to an organisation.
Many students undertaking studies in the Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS) are already gainfully employed in positions relevant to their field of study so may be considering how to best utilise their new skills and knowledge to advance their career. Others will be utilising their qualifications to gain entry into their chosen profession. Whichever situation is most applicable to you, it’s important to consider which occupational roles with which employers are going to offer you sustainable and meaningful employment moving forward.
Feedback from Aboriginal people indicates that workplaces with the following attributes provide environments favourable to successful, ongoing employment (Koori Mail):
- Mentoring schemes
- Policies which address racism in the workplace
- Provide staff with cultural awareness training
- Keep people employed after any wage subsidy period ends
- Provide career development and progression
- Enable flexible work practices
Do your research; look at the organisation’s website, talk to people who work there / who have worked there, and ask questions at interview to identify if the organisation you’re interested in maintains these practices.
For students who have a placement within their course, particularly in their final year, make the most of this experience by:
- Developing networks and contacts with experienced people in the workplace (they can be a valuable source of future work opportunities).
- Learning about the career journey of more experienced colleagues; what factors influenced their career decision making and how they got to be where they are today.
- If your placement went well, asking your supervisor/s if they will be a referee.
- Gathering evidence of your skills, knowledge and experience aligned to your occupation of interest (to be used to demonstrate to prospective employers why you are the best person for the job, or to present a case for advancement or promotion in your current workplace).
- Setting yourself goals to improve your professional competency and confidence based on feedback from your supervisor/s.
- Reflecting on your different placement experiences, what did you enjoy, dislike and learn from each experience? How can this inform your future career decisions?
It may also be timely to have your resume and cover letter reviewed to ensure it meets the professional standards expected by employers and presents you as the best candidate for the job. The Curtin Careers & Employment Centre offer this service for free. You can submit your documents online for feedback or use our drop-in service.
Koori Mail 459 p.39 in Creative Spirits (n.d.). Aboriginal employment, jobs and careers. Retrieved February 27, 2014 from http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/economy/aboriginal-employment-jobs-careers#ixzz2uZd1dQFM