Rory’s passion leads to success
Inspiring is just one of many positive words to describe proud Aboriginal man and former trainee, Rory Smeaton. Not only has he worked hard to gain the role of Manager – Indigenous Programs at Crown, he has devoted much of his youth to mentoring people in his community.
‘I’ve always been passionate about improving education and employment opportunities for Indigenous people, and now I’m working for an organisation that is leading the way,’ said Rory.
It’s been a long but incredibly rewarding adventure, from the start of my traineeship to where I am today. If I didn’t take on this opportunity I probably would have went down the trades path,’ he added.
Rory’s remarkable journey started in high school when he completed a School-based traineeship after losing interest in his studies.
‘School just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t looking forward to VCE at all. I had a chat to my careers teacher and she suggested a traineeship might be the way to go,’ explained Rory.
In his final years of high school Rory studied with VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) as well as completing a traineeship with VAYSAR (Victorian Aboriginal Youth and Recreation).
‘The beauty of the traineeship was that I was getting paid and gaining a heap of invaluable work experience in an amazing organisation that allowed me to get involved in helping my community. At the same time, I was given the opportunity to study a Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation, which pretty much gave me all the knowledge and skills I needed to start the ball rolling. ’
Traineeships open doors you don’t know are there,’ he said.
Rory’s outstanding commitment and contribution to his community saw him receive the 2010 Australian Training Awards’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, an honour he describes as one of his greatest achievements.
After his traineeship he continued to fuel his passion of helping young Indigenous people by completing a Diploma of Youth Work while at working as Indigenous Liaison Officer at Kangan Institute. Rory later secured a role at Swinburne as their Indigenous Youth Mentor.
‘Mentors never stop working, we live and breathe our community, we are completely entrenched in what we do and that’s coaching our young people, guiding them through life’s hardships, finding them opportunities, encouraging them to take risks and helping them to pave a bright future for not only themselves but their families.
I always say if have helped even just one person, then I have done my job.’
Rory continued to build his career when in 2012 he became Crown’s Recruitment Advisor for the Indigenous employment team.
‘I knew the corporate world would be challenging but I learned the ropes and after two and a half years, I was fortunate to step into the Managers role in Indigenous Programs.’
In his current role Rory leads the Crown Resorts Indigenous Programs Melbourne site where he is responsible for building and developing relationships with the Indigenous community and government stakeholders.
‘Crown is at the forefront of Indigenous employment, being the first employer to sign the Australian Employment Covenant in 2009. Since then we have been committed to hiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and retaining them by giving them perks such as cleaning their uniforms and providing them with a free meal.’
‘The results have been amazing, Indigenous employees are not only staying here longer they are progressing through the company at a faster rate. What really matters to me though is when elders start saying they want their nieces and nephews to work here.’
Rory’s undisputed fervour for his role has seen him make a real difference at Crown and in his community and there is no doubt that we will continue to see him achieve more great things for his people.
In perhaps his biggest endorsement, Rory advised both his sisters to participate in a traineeship. His sister Lucy graduated this year and has gained full-time employment with her host employer at Telstra.
‘Everyone has a starting point, mine was my traineeship and now my sister has got her start through hers.’
DATE: 5th of June 2018
AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello
IMAGE: Rory Smeaton