The LGAQ has secured funding from the Queensland Government to pilot a program addressing the lack of skilled employment opportunities in First Nations communities.
The Department of Employment, Small Business and Training will contribute $300,000 to the Supporting First Nations Skilled Workers Project, which aims to support skilled and educated First Nations community members in finding suitable employment in their communities.
As it stands, many skilled and educated First Nations people are unable to secure work, within their communities, that is commensurate with their skillsets.
First Nations people often leave their community to be educated, either at a secondary school or university level, only to find upon returning to their communities at the completion of their studies that there are no employment opportunities available that match their qualifications.
The post-COVID world has seen a significant cultural shift in terms of opportunities for employees to work remotely from their employer’s physical premises, and many people have been able to take advantage of the opportunity to seek suitable employment that is geographically separated from the community in which they live, through the option to work from home.
However, people living in First Nations communities rarely have this luxury and often face numerous barriers to working remotely, including (but not limited to) inadequate internet connectivity, a shortage of space and equipment to set up a home office and conditions that are often overcrowded and therefore unsuitable.
The Project aims to facilitate employment for Skilled First Nations Workers that is commensurate with their skills and qualifications and allows them to continue to live in their communities. The proposed pilot program will offer two services:
• The assistance of a recruitment agency which specialises in placement of First Nations people to match the Skilled First
Nations Workers with appropriate roles outside of their communities which may be done remotely.
• Set up a fully equipped office space to accommodate 10 workers (Business Hub) to provide an appropriate space in which the Skilled First Nations Workers may successfully work.
The pilot will be run in the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire community, with the Business Hub operating from a space within the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council building.