Supporting more Aboriginal workers in the disability and aged-care sector  

[supplied by CDU]

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A new health services traineeship has been introduced by CDU and Santos to upskill Indigenous workers in the aged-care and disability sector. Image: supplied

Ensuring that disability and aged-care services in the NT are staffed by Aboriginal Territorians is a key driver behind a new health services traineeship designed to upskill Indigenous workers in the sector.

The Support Worker Traineeship is set to commence in July 2021, thanks to a partnership between Charles Darwin University and Santos.

The $75,000 investment in the program combines training and on the job experience to best prepare students for ongoing employment.

The aim of the project is to train 10 Indigenous students, and as such has a strong Larrakia participant focus, as a part of the program.

The participants will receive a Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged and Disability), a key qualification to work in aged-care and disability support industries.

The program creates entry pathways into the health care sector, an area in the NT with significant skills shortage and job prospects.

Census data shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have higher rates of disability than non-Indigenous people across all age groups.

Despite this, according to data, Indigenous Australians access support services at a lower rate than other Australians do.

Charles Darwin University’s Dean of Health and Human Sciences Professor Dominic Upton noted that the demand for Aboriginal workers in the NT’s disability sector was high.

“Greater support and investment to encourage Aboriginal community workers into careers in disability services in the NT is vital,” Professor Upton said.

“There is a demand for Indigenous workers that understand the inherent needs of the community in the sector.

“This program invests directly back into the community and will be good for the welfare of children, families and communities in the Territory.”

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said the partnership with Charles Darwin University was another tangible demonstration of Santos supporting the communities in which it operates. 

“These traineeships will develop employment pathways, build the capability of training providers, and enhance Indigenous service providers in the disability and aged-care sectors,” Mr Gallagher said.

“Santos is proud to partner with organisations like Charles Darwin University to improve training opportunities for Territorians and improve health and disability services in the Northern Territory.”

Local not-for-profit, Saltbush Social Enterprises (Saltbush) is working closely with CDU and Santos in assisting with recruitment and intensive mentoring for the trainees.

Saltbush Employer Engagement Manager Renae Massa said growing local capacity and capability for Indigenous jobseekers in the Northern Territory was key.

“We are very excited to be able to assist employers in the aged-care and disability sectors who are calling out for more skilled Indigenous people in the industry,” Ms Massa said. 

“Saltbush understands that a person with a job is a person with a future and has a boots-on-the-ground approach to growing local capacity and capability for Indigenous jobseekers in the Northern Territory.”

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