AFL SportsReady Recognised for Indigenous Work
AFL SportsReady’s focus on improving career opportunities for Indigenous young people has been recognised at the Northern Indigenous Employment (NIE) Awards in Melbourne.
CEO James Montgomery said the Northern Indigenous Employment Business Award was a huge honour as it was recognition by the very community AFL SportsReady’s Indigenous Employment Program aimed to support.
The awards were hosted by the NIE working group, a community partnership initiative formed in 2008. This year’s awards ceremony included Indigenous employment success stories from employers helping to increase Aboriginal employment and training outcomes in Melbourne’s northern region.
AFL SportsReady was among six award recipients, including The Royal Children’s Hospital, Quit Victoria, Australian School of Optometry, Crown Casino and Bubup Wilam for Early Learning Aboriginal Child and Family Centre.
“From the very moment we established our Indigenous Employment Program, we were focused on creating employment opportunities that would lead to real careers and make a genuine difference in the outcomes for Indigenous young people across Australia,” Mr Montgomery said.
“This award is extremely important to our company as it reflects that what we are doing is recognised by our program’s most important partners, the Indigenous community. Initiatives like the Barrawarn Program, operated in partnership with the Collingwood Football Club Foundation, have helped us create these results in the inner and northern suburbs of Melbourne, where the NIE is based.”
Mr Montgomery said the Barrawarn program had sprung from a shared ambition between the Collingwood Football Club and AFL SportsReady to provide opportunities to enable improved sporting, leadership, education and employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians. The program is a three-year initiative aimed at providing young Indigenous people with education and employment opportunities in metropolitan and regional Victoria.
The Barrawarn program has so far given 15 young Indigenous Australians the opportunity to develop vocational skills, attain formal qualifications and exciting employment opportunities. It is part of AFL SportsReady’s wider Indigenous Employment Program, which provides traineeships and apprenticeships for Indigenous young people.
AFL SportsReady Executive Manager, Indigenous Employment, Jade Colgan said the program delivered the career and educational opportunities that were critical for any young person just starting out in their career, “We recognise several key challenges for young Indigenous Australians, including the capacity to navigate a way through employment and training pathways, the capacity of employers to be culturally sensitive and the need for young Indigenous Australians to make a connection with each other from across communities,” Ms Colgan said.
“The success of our program is due to the comprehensive supports that are provided to Indigenous young people undertaking a traineeship or apprenticeship, as well as to partner employers.”
In the past 18 months, the number of Indigenous young people placed in a traineeship with employers across the country has grown by 135%, to reach 225 trainees this year. Employers include all four big banks, Telstra and Australia Post, reflecting the corporate sector’s shared vision to improve Indigenous opportunities.
“We were humbled to receive this award and look forward to continuing to create opportunities for young Indigenous Australians,” Ms Colgan said.
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IMAGE: James Montgomery, AFL SportsReady CEO; Jade Colgan, Executive Manager – Indigenous Employment; and Ralph White, Indigenous Community Engagement Coordinator.
DATE: Friday 1st November, 2013