The Australian Government’s Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) has secured more than 31,000 job and training places for Indigenous Australians during the 2010-11 financial year, the 2011 National Employment Services Association Conference heard today.
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development Mark Arbib said the IEP had exceeded its targets by 14 per cent, an important result as the Gillard Government worked towards halving the employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
“Strong partnerships between Indigenous job seekers, communities, employers and IEP Panel members mean the program is producing results around Australia,” Senator Arbib said.
“To continue the success of the program current members of the Employment Panel and the Economic Development and Business Support Panel, who support the Indigenous Employment Program, will be offered a three year extension of their contracts.
“The Government will also give more organisations the chance to become IEP panel members allowing them to access the IEP and help create Indigenous jobs.”
Senator Arbib also announced a change to the IEP to ensure all programs were linked to real jobs.
“We want to ensure there is no training for training’s sake. The IEP will move to a system where any organisation requesting funding for training must provide the link to a job at the end of it,” Senator Arbib said.
“Training is important, but a job provides you with a sense of purpose. Whether it is a reason to get out of bed every day or providing for your family – the IEP is about providing opportunity and long-term jobs for Indigenous Australians.”
Senator Arbib said Federal Treasury had estimated that 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 opportunities.
“Indigenous employment is not a short-term issue. Over the next four years the Australian Government has committed almost $650 million to the Indigenous Employment Program and $50 million to the Indigenous Youth Careers Pathway Program,” Senator Arbib said.
“This is part of the Australian Government’s goal to help Indigenous students find a job or move into further study and create more than 100,000 jobs for Indigenous Australians by 2018.”
Details about this opportunity and an invitation for organisations to consider becoming IEP panel members will be announced in the near future.