The Minerals Council of Australia is pleased to add the perspective of a major employer of Indigenous Australians to Indigenous Skills and Employment Program (ISEP) design considerations.
Indigenous Australians make a significant and valued contribution to the minerals workforce.
Employing Indigenous Australians creates shared benefits. It provides a committed workforce, diverse perspectives and knowledge and contributes to formal and voluntary industry commitments. Communities benefit from tailored approaches to providing employment opportunities. Workers also gain skills transferrable to other sectors, which benefits other industries.
For decades, industry and Traditional Owners, communities, Indigenous organisations and governments have jointly developed Indigenous employment, skills and procurement pathways.
Pathways in remote and regional areas, for young people to return to or work on country and for entry-level roles are particularly important to communities. Indigenous work readiness and transition programs tailored to local needs, long-term work opportunities and community preferences often support positive outcomes.
Shared focus has resulted in the minerals industry employing a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians than any other sector. Progress is positive. Yet there is more to do, particularly to increase the number of Indigenous Australians in mining leadership, trades and technical, and science (including environmental management), technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) roles. The growing minerals workforce relies on these roles.
Work readiness and transitional programs will remain an important pathway alongside new initiatives to increase leadership and STEM representation.