05 September 2016

Woolworths signs deal to hire extra 1600 Indigenous Staff

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Australian Supermarket chain Woolworths has signed a partnership with the Australian Government committing to creating 1,600 jobs by 2019.

In a Press Release at the time of the announcement, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, the Hon. Nigel Scullion applauded the commitment by Woolworths saying it was the biggest jobs commitment to date under the Government's Employment Parity Initiative. Woolworths already employs over 2000 First Australians and their participation in the programme will take the total to 3,600 in a little under three years.

"I congratulate Woolworths for the leadership it is showing in helping to close the employment gap and it's great to see the jobs will be spread across various parts of the business - including customer service, bakeries, delicatessens, apparel and homewares," Minister Scullion said.

It is important to note, 85 per cent of the jobs will go to disadvantaged jobseekers and be located across the country in cities, towns and remote locations where unemployment is at record levels. 

Minister Scullion stated the additional jobs would take Woolworth's Indigenous employment rate from the current 1.1 per cent to 2.1 per cent - closer to the parity rate of 3 per cent.

The Employment Parity Initiative helps companies with any additional costs of employing and retaining disadvantaged, long-term unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Government has to date signed EPI agreements with 10 companies across the country, providing 6,815 new jobs for First Australians.

"Our stores make great training grounds for the leaders of tomorrow and Woolworths is committed to ensuring our team reflects the local communities they server," Woolworth's Chief Executive Officer Brad Banducci said at the signing of the agreement. 

"We are proud to be one of Australia's biggest employers of Indigenous workers, but I believe we can do more to support Indigenous Australians and open up more employment opportunities for them in our business.

According to information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 - 64 were more than three times as likely as non-indigenous people in the same age group to be be unemployed (17.2% of those in the labour force compared with 5.5%  - a gap of 11.7%). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men were more likely to be unemployed (18.2%) than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (16.1%)l while rates for non-indigenous men and women were the same. 

Akolade's upcoming 3rd National Indigenous Economic Development Forum, held on 18-20 October in Darwin addresses how to attract, recruit and retain indigenous employees.

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

Mike’s most recently published story, Seeds of Eden, is featured in the Sproutlings Anthology released in March 2016. Mike is also editing the Anthology – Community: Tales of the LGBTI scheduled for release in June 2017.

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