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Cultural Awareness for local council

On August 7th, 24 staff members from the Wellington Shire Council received Cultural Awareness training from Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) representative, Grattan Mullet. Grattan presented on the history of the Gunaikurnai people in Gippsland, providing a background to his community and a context to the work GLaWAC is involved in in the region as Traditional Owners.

Attendees gained a comprehensive understanding of the organisation and their services, including the ways that they can assist in educating the community on the employment of Aboriginal people.

Liz Allen, GROW Gippsland Aboriginal Business and Employment Lead, began her Cultural Safety and Inclusion training by asking each participant to discuss their family history. This task allowed for people to acknowledge the diversity in their own workplace and community, and to see that diversity is not always obvious.

Using both her past experiences and Australia’s history, Liz painted a picture of employment in the region, stating the importance of creating support systems for the community in order to retain employees.

Guest speaker, Sue Askew from Central Gippsland Health, stepped the group through strategies her organisation has put in place to overcome any difficulties or barriers faced while on-boarding trainees, pushing the importance of support systems for both current and potential staff.  

Utilising her experience of establishing the GEGAC (Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative) Academy, a traineeship program for young Aboriginal people, Lynda Capes insisted the value of a simple and clear recruitment, selection, induction and retention process. Creating strong relationships with community members that carry generational impact, providing support and establishing a clear pathway into employment empowers job seekers to find their ideal position.

Rounding out the training, Rhiannon Hayes, Quality Officer at GEGAC, told her personal story of employment as an Aboriginal woman. Her journey was not perfect, but after gaining employment following her involvement in the GEGAC Academy, Rhiannon has created a new life for herself, ending her presentation with; ‘if you give someone education and a connection to their culture, they will be determined to succeed’.

The staff at Wellington Shire Council left with a positive attitude and an excitement to continue their journey of Inclusive Employment; which included creating strong partnerships with support organisations and providing traineeships to the young Aboriginal community in the future.

Through the building of relationships and partnerships with the community, we can celebrate and acknowledge how far we have come and what we have achieved together.

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