Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Future Indigenous leaders experience life in Parliament

Ministers:

The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for School Education
Minister for Early Childhood and Youth

Indigenous students from across the nation have converged on Parliament House for a work experience program with the Gillard Government aimed at boosting Indigenous employment in politics and the public service.

Minister for School Education and Youth, Peter Garrett and Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Julie Collins today welcomed 100 Indigenous secondary students participating in the Learn Earn Legend! Work Exposure with Government program.

“The week-long program will introduce the students to career opportunities in Australian political life and in the public service,” Ms Collins said.

“Students will learn about how government works, get to experience life in a political office and have the opportunity to watch Question Time, before spending a day in public service agencies and departments.

“The Australian Government wants to increase Indigenous employment in the public service to 2.7 per cent by 2015.

“As at 31 December 2011, there were around 3,700 Indigenous Australians in the APS – 2.2 per cent of its employees.

“Programs like this help to close the gap on education and employment and I want to thank the many parliamentarians from all sides and the Government agencies who have agreed to welcome these students into their professional lives,” Ms Collins said.

Mr Garrett said Learn Earn Legend!  was an important program for Indigenous students.

“These students are future leaders in their communities and Australia. This program is about expanding their horizons and making them aware of the possible job opportunities and pathways available,” Mr Garrett said.

“We hope some of these students will consider further study and work to become the departmental secretaries and politicians of the future.”

More than 70 parliamentarians will host students in their offices this week as well as 32 Australian Government agencies.

Students will also meet some Learn Earn Legend! Ambassadors including tennis legend Evonne Goolagong and former NRL player Preston Campbell.

Ms Goolagong said the week would be a fantastic experience for the students.

"Some of these young Indigenous Australians may decide their future is in government helping to improve the delivery of vital services to Indigenous people and their communities,” Ms Goolagong said.

The Australian Government has teamed up with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, Dare to Lead and The Sporting Chance Program to deliver the program.

The program is funded through the Australian Government’s $650 million Indigenous Employment Program - one of the most successful programs helping Indigenous Australians get the training they need to get a job and supporting them to keep it.

The IEP has achieved 93,000 job and training placements - 44,000 of them employment placements - since it was reformed in 2009.

For more information visit: www.deewr.gov.au/learnearnlegend