An online portal has been created to link indigenous university students around Australia to provide a network of support throughout their studies and beyond.
Developed by CareerTrackers and supported by the Optus Community Grants program, the portal is expected to reach 500 students studying in urban, regional, remote and mission communities around the country.
CareerTrackers provides internships for young indigenous Australians with leading companies such as Commonwealth Bank and Westpac, News Ltd (the joint venture owner of CareerOne with Monster Worldwide), Theiss, InterContinental Group, Credit Suisse, Leighton, National Australian Bank, Qantas and Woolworths amongst others.
The new portal is designed to “harness the power of technology” to connect students and increase student engagement and retention as well as provide access to professional development opportunities.
Michael Combs, Founder and CEO of CareerTackers said the organisation’s aim was to “build Australia’s first generation of indigenous executives and the next generation of leaders” and the portal will better connect that community.
The CareerTracker portal is only the latest initiative launched this month to boost indigenous employment. On April 11 the Federal Government announced extra funding for employment and training programs and in Melbourne a university announced a new partnership with Australia’s only privately-owned indigenous recruitment firm.
The funding boost was announced by the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Julie Collins at the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council conference in Sydney.
Ms Collins said $7.5 million would be added to the $650m already committed to the Indigenous Employment Program and separate funding via Job Services Australia.
The Minister told the conference that in the first eight months of the 2011-12 financial year, 21,000 indigenous Australians were placed in employment and training programs and 10,000 in jobs.
The Federal Government has committed to halving the employment gap among indigenous Australians. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics unemployment amongst indigenous people is approximately 16 percent in city areas and 23 per cent in regional areas. In NSW alone the rate of unemployment is four times higher than the general population.
The Federal Government has also committed $50 million for the indigenous youth careers pathway program to provide 6400 school-based traineeships for indigenous students in (years) 11 and 12.
The AIMSC was established in 2009 and now has 130 corporate and government members and 124 certified indigenous suppliers employing more than 450 people.
In Melbourne, Swinburne University of Technology and First People HR are partnering to improve professional employment prospects for Indigenous people.
"Through collaboration we hope to increase Indigenous access to higher education through employment and educational pathways," says Swinburne's Professor of Industry Engaged Learning Professor Mike Clements.
"Swinburne is recognised for its high quality, industry-relevant degrees and we hope to increase industry engaged learning opportunities for Indigenous students in higher education.
First People HR is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment organisation that offers businesses and communities a deep understanding of Indigenous people and employment practices.
Managing director of First People Paul Knight said the partnership would assist its employer clients in the planning and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff beyond entry-level trainee roles.
CareerOne.com.au, April 2012