Release type: Joint Media Release


Indigenous people training for jobs in health and business in Blacktown


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

Twenty-five Indigenous Australians today graduated from pre-employment training with a Certificate II in Business thanks to the assistance of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.

Representing the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib, Member for Parramatta Julie Owens congratulated the new graduates at a ceremony at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

“This project is making a huge contribution to the local Indigenous community, assisting locals to develop work-ready skills and find employment,” Ms Owens said.

“Already 50 Indigenous jobseekers who have participated in the Blacktown Local Government Area Indigenous Employment Program have successfully found work.

“Three of the participants of this program are already working – one as a hospital assistant with the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and I’m sure the others will enjoy similar success.”

The most recent pre-employment program is a partnership between Yarn’n Aboriginal Employment Services, Wesley Institute Vocational Services and the Sydney Children Hospital Network.

Kerrie Slater, 31, has started fulltime work with the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, where she completed her work placement under the pre-employment program.

Ms Slater said she was happy with her new job, as her passion has always been working with children.

“I’ve worked in the child care industry for 10 years and I have always been involved in child care as an Indigenous Australian coming from a big family,” Ms Slater said.

“I am extremely happy where I am and want to stay in the health industry. I believe we have to take an opportunity with both hands and encourage our people to give it go.”

Yarn’n Aboriginal Employment Services, Managing Director Deborah Nelson said Yarn’n was working with the hospital network to identify other opportunities.

“The 25 participants really want to work and they want to get out there, so it is a really heartening experience for my team to work with such dedicated job seekers,” Ms Nelson said.

“The program helps participants to develop a range of skills, such as effective communication in the workplace, Introduction to Medical Terminology and participation in OHS practice.”

Senator Arbib said the Australian Government had committed $355,000 in IEP funding to the project, which is one component of the Blacktown Local Government Area project.

"This project is focussed on increasing job opportunities for Indigenous Australians from the Blacktown Local Government Association," Senator Arbib said.

"Indigenous Employment Program Panel Member Yarn’n Aboriginal Employment Services is working to complete 100 training outcomes and find 50 jobs under this contract.”

Senator Arbib said the IEP was part of the Australian Government's commitment to closing the gap on Indigenous employment. The Gillard Government has a target of creating more than 100,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians by 2018.

The government has committed more than $750 million over five years to the Indigenous Employment Program, to assist Indigenous Australians into ongoing, sustainable work.