Featured above Indigenous artist and motivational speaker Jeremy Donovan.
Indigenous job seekers, their families and the wider
community came together on Friday (17 February) to take part in a cultural
awareness day at MAX Employment’s Penrith office.
Renowned motivational speaker, artist and didgeridoo player Jeremy
Donovan ran the group through a cultural art session with colourful dot
painting and didgeridoo playing.
Business Manager Kristy Day said the purpose of the event
was to help build rapport with the local community and reach out to job seekers
from all walks of life.
“We’ve increased our Indigenous caseload and are looking at
more ways to engage with the community. It’s about getting the word out there
that MAX is supportive of Indigenous people and encouraging them into sustainable
work,” she said.
“With about 20 Indigenous job seekers attending the session,
we’re looking to put the dot paintings up in the office so it’s a more
welcoming environment for everyone.”
Jeremy, a proud Kuku-Yalanji man, said it was a great opportunity
to reach out to the Indigenous community in Western Sydney as well as engaging with
job seekers already on board with MAX.
“There are many everyday things people can do to build
rapport and a more inclusive workplace culture that supports the Indigenous
community,” he said.
“It’s about developing MAX sites and staff to be able to
effectively deal with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the
diversity of issues that surrounds our communities.
“That takes more than cultural awareness, it’s about
creating a culturally competent workplace.
“This means having the difficult conversations, demystifying
the myths so that MAX staff are best educated to deliver.”
Jeremy said one of the most important things is creating
opportunities with employers to put faith and efforts into sourcing providers
and getting candidates who are inspired to work for them.
“It’s critical to get employers competent in employing Indigenous
people and building relationships with MAX,” he said.
“I use my personal story to help create aspirations and build
pathways to better their life because as Aboriginal people, we can’t be
complacent – we have to turn up and want it.
“We also can’t accept ‘no’ for an answer from employers who
say they’ve already tried a certain method. We need to knock on doors and say
here’s another way it could work.
“We all must understand the importance of our connection to the
land and for Indigenous people to be passionate about their cultural heritage
and identity.” He adds that mentors are critical to Indigenous job seekers
landing jobs and they come from many walks of life.
“I’ve had a constant desire to engage with mentors whether
it be in my performance, art or public speaking – over time they change and
come and go but it’s crucial to have them in your journey.”
Solutions is committed to building relationships between Indigenous and
non‐Indigenous peoples in the workplace and the broader community at a local,
state and national level. As
our Reconciliation Action Plan reflects, inclusion and equality is paramount to
achieving our goals and closing the gap in employment outcomes.