Down under, there’s a different ethnic group having trouble with employment, one we don’t see in America.
Australian Aboriginals are facing poor working conditions, racial discrimination, low wages and other unfair disadvantages, mostly in the Northern Territory.
One Aboriginal businessman, Paul Knight, is giving them a fair go with a job services agency geared toward helping indigenous laborers find quality jobs. He created First People HR in North Sydney, with the help of the NSW Business Chamber and a man named Kevin Chandler, founder of the Chandler MacLeod Group.
They’re here to help indigenous laborers with temporary and permanent placement. They will employ the workers for 26 weeks through First People.
At the end of that time, successful workers will remain permanent and become full employees of the client companies. Unsuccessful workers will be transitioned to different assignments, according to Knight.
Knight told The Australian, “One of the biggest issues indigenous people face is getting the hiring managers to say yes because of all the perceived risks around indigenous employment.”
Chandler added, “It’s an opportunity to address a community issue in a rather clever way. We’ll be using tried and true recruitment processes, but applied to a very disadvantaged group.”
They want the federal government kept out of it, too.
“We are not a social service, and we do not rely on government funding,” Knight said. “We are a fully-fledged private sector business with shareholder responsibilities – but we do believe there is an incredible social good that will be created through our innovative services.”
First People HR is an extension of efforts to support indigenous workers in Australia. When the Australian Employment Covenant was created a couple years back to create 50,000 jobs for indigenous workers within two years’ time, it was knocked for only providing 4,300.
Job Services Australia has placed 68,000 indigenous workers since 2009 — so it’s nothing to sneer at. The effort is there.
Knight said, “First People HR is keen to be part of a real tipping point in terms of building the skills and employability of Aboriginal Australians, which in turn will assist in the creation of new respect, opportunities and wealth for Australia’s first people.”