Release type: Media Release




Senator the Hon Mark Arbib
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development
Minister for Sport
Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness

Coles supermarkets will provide job opportunities for over 200 Indigenous people around Australia as part of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Employment Program.

Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib today launched the Coles First Step training and employment program at Yaama Dhiyaan in inner-Sydney Darlington.

“This training and employment program is an exciting initiative that will provide appropriate training and work experience for 205 Indigenous Australians over the next 18 months,” Senator Arbib said.

“The participants will undertake a three week job-ready training program with the first 2 weeks being spent in pre-employment training and final week undertaking work experienced in a Coles store.

“Once the pre-employment training is completed the participants will be offered permanent part time employment with Coles.  New employees will receive 6 months of ongoing mentoring and support and cultural awareness training will be provided to supervisors and staff in Coles stores.

“With the help of Indigenous Program Coordinators and cultural awareness training, this program is a great stepping stone to aiding Indigenous employment.”

Senator Arbib said First Step evolved from an earlier pilot program at Coles where Customer Focus Group Training provided training and employment opportunities to 50 Indigenous job seekers in NSW, and Diversity Consulting delivered a cultural awareness program to 70 Coles managers.

“Thirty-two of the original participants from the pilot program are still employed with Coles and the number of Indigenous people employed with Coles in NSW has increased from 149 team members to 198 team members,” Senator Arbib said.

Stuart Machin, Coles Operations and Business Development Director, welcomed the Federal Government's support enabling Coles to employ more Indigenous people.

"Diversity and community are extremely important to business; at Coles our belief is that your business should represent the community it serves – and the community should see your business as an integral part of it,” Mr Machin said

"Currently Coles employs over 600 Indigenous team members across the country, these additional jobs will help us build the kind of diversity that reflects the community.”

Senator Arbib said the Coles First Step training program was supported by $1.4 million from the Australian Government’s Indigenous Employment Program.

“Over the next four years the Australian Government has committed almost $650 million to the Indigenous Employment Program,” Senator Arbib said.

 “This is part of the Australian Government’s target to create more than 100,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians by 2018.”