An Indigenous employment program on Palm Island is providing 14 Indigenous Australians with the opportunity to become mechanics.
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib said the program was a great opportunity for local Indigenous job seekers to get qualifications in an industry that was experiencing skills shortages.
“For six months participants will undertake work experience with the Coolgaree Aboriginal Corporation while completing four days a fortnight study through the MTA Institute of Technology,” Senator Arbib said.
“At the end of the six months the participants will receive a Certificate II in Automotive Mechanical, ensuring they are well prepared to begin their apprenticeship.
“In addition, they will receive literacy and numeracy support and complete a two week training course to prepare them for full time work. It will focus on budgeting, managing work life balance, goal setting, career planning and communication skills.”
Senator Arbib said the Gillard Government had provided more than $87 000 to the program which was being run with the support of the Coolgaree Aboriginal Corporation and Jobfind.
“Throughout their training, the participants will have access to local Indigenous and qualified mentors that will provide assistance if any issues arise,” Senator Arbib said.
“This is not just training for training’s sake, this program is providing increased job and training opportunities for Indigenous Australians on Palm Island without needing to go to the mainland.”
Senator Arbib said Treasury predicted 500 000 jobs would be created over the next two years and it was critical that Indigenous Australians had the support and training they needed to take up employment.
“Indigenous employment is not a short term issue. Over the next four years the Government has also committed almost $650 million to the Indigenous Employment Program,” Senator Arbib said.
“This is part of the Gillard Government’s target to create more than 100 000 jobs for Indigenous Australians by 2018.”