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Indigenous Employment in the Australian Rail Industry

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  • Indigenous Employment in the Australian Rail Industry

  • Table of Contents

    Introduction _________________________________________________________________ 1

    Employment in the Rail Industry ______________________________________________________ 1

    Rail Skills and Careers Council ________________________________________________________ 1

    Indigenous Employment Strategy _____________________________________________________ 2

    Section 1. Options for Increasing Indigenous Employment in Rail ______________________ 3

    Option 1 Development of Reconciliation Action Plans _____________________________________ 4

    BHP Billitons Reconciliation Action Plan ________________________________________________________ 4

    Option 2 Engagement of Indigenous Coordinator/Advisor _________________________________ 6

    Transfield Services Indigenous Advisory Board ___________________________________________________ 6

    SKM Indigenous Employment Coordination _____________________________________________________ 7

    Option 3 Employment of Indigenous Apprentices and Trainees _____________________________ 8

    BHP Aboriginal Apprenticeship Program ________________________________________________________ 8

    Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) ______________________________________________ 9

    Aboriginal School Based Traineeship (ASBT) _____________________________________________________ 9

    Option 4 Pre-employment programs _________________________________________________ 10

    RailCorp Pre-employment Program___________________________________________________________ 10

    Ashburton Work Start Program ______________________________________________________________ 10

    Option 5 Development of cross cultural awareness package_______________________________ 11

    BHP Billiton Cultural Awareness Workshops ____________________________________________________ 11

    Option 6 Employment of Indigenous University students as cadets _________________________ 12

    Rio Tinto NICP ____________________________________________________________________________ 12

    Sinclair Knight Mertz ICP ___________________________________________________________________ 12

    Arup ___________________________________________________________________________________ 13

    Option 7 Corporate Leaders for Indigenous Employment _________________________________ 14

    Option 8 Extend Indigenous Employment Strategies to rail divisions ________________________ 15

    John Holland Group _______________________________________________________________________ 15

    Leighton Contractors ______________________________________________________________________ 15

    Transfield Services ________________________________________________________________________ 15

    Laing O'Rourke plc ________________________________________________________________________ 16

    Downer EDI ______________________________________________________________________________ 16

    Section 2. Key Success Factors for Indigenous Employment in Rail ____________________ 17

    Focus Area 1: Organisational Commitment __________________________________________ 18

    Case Study: Transfield Services ______________________________________________________________ 18

    Case Study: BHP Billiton ____________________________________________________________________ 19

    Case Study: RailCorp ______________________________________________________________________ 20

  • Focus Area 2: Partnerships _______________________________________________________ 21

    Case Study: Alice Springs to Darwin Rail Project _________________________________________________ 21

    Case Study: Public Transport Authority of WA __________________________________________________ 22

    Case Study: Indigenous Owned Contracting Businesses __________________________________________ 22

    Focus Area 3: Recruitment Strategies _______________________________________________ 23

    Case Study: Indigenous Employment Coordination ______________________________________________ 24

    Case Study: Promotional Material ____________________________________________________________ 24

    Case Study: Employee and Contractor Induction Programs ________________________________________ 24

    Focus Area 4: Retention Strategies _________________________________________________ 26

    Case Study: Employee Networks _____________________________________________________________ 26

    Case Study: Sub-contracting Security Services __________________________________________________ 27

    Case Study: Overcoming Racism with Cultural Awareness Workshops _______________________________ 27

    Focus Area 5: Education & Training ________________________________________________ 29

    Secondary School Programs_________________________________________________________________ 29

    Apprenticeships and Traineeships ____________________________________________________________ 30

    Tertiary Programs _________________________________________________________________________ 30

    Work-Ready Programs _____________________________________________________________________ 31

    Government Financial Assistance ____________________________________________________ 33

    Wage Assistance __________________________________________________________________________ 33

    STEP Program ____________________________________________________________________________ 33

    National Indigenous Cadetship Program _______________________________________________________ 34

    Corporate Leader for Indigenous Employment __________________________________________________ 35

    Conclusion __________________________________________________________________ 36

    Useful Publications ___________________________________________________________ 37

  • Catherine Maughan Indigenous Employment Strategy Page 1

    Introduction The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is the peak body representing the interests of all rail

    operators, both private and government, track owners and managers, manufacturers of rolling

    stock and components, and other aspects of the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand. The

    ARA represents more than 150 member organisations. The fundamental purpose of ARA is to

    create an environment that will permit the Australian rail industry to prosper. One of the key

    issues identified by ARA that inhibits this outcome is rail skill shortages.

    Employment in the Rail Industry

    More than 40 000 people are employed in rail throughout urban and regional Australia in

    diverse operations and professional occupations. Many more people work in support industries

    providing goods and services to the industry.

    Although the turnover of employees in rail is generally low, employees in the rail industry are

    older than the average workforce and during the next five to ten years there will be more

    workers retiring than new entrants. Many of those leaving the industry have knowledge and

    skills not easily replicated or purchased in the market. In addition, turnover of new recruits is

    up to five times higher than for any other group of workers in the industry.

    The rail industry and the general working environment are in a state of transition. The

    workforce that has dominated the past decades is now nearing retirement. The work

    preferences and expectations of new entrants to the workforce are distinct and conflict, in

    some aspects, with the preferences of the existing workforce.

    Rail Skills and Careers Council

    The ARA established the Rail Skills and Careers Council (RSCC) which focuses on the human

    resources of rail, overseeing the efficient development of projects such as the Attraction and

    Retention Research Project, the Graduate Program and the School Based TAFE and Employment


    The ARA, through the RSCC, is taking a strategic approach to lessen the risk of the rail industry

    not having a skilled workforce in the future by advancing industry-wide focused programs

    relating to:

    Attractive image that will engage stakeholders, customers and workers of the future

    Skilling rail strategy establishes clear guidance about training requirements and workforce planning

    Workplace relations that ensures valuable employees remain in the rail industry

    Data collection for monitoring the impacts of change initiatives and predicting future issues.

  • Catherine Maughan Indigenous Employment Strategy Page 2

    The Workforce Development Strategy being developed by ARA focuses on the implementation

    of a strategic project approach to employing the following target groups of employees:

    Women returning to the workforce

    People with disabilities

    Mature job seekers

    Indigenous Australians.

    Indigenous Employment Strategy

    The Australasian Railways Association (ARA) has received Australian Government funding for an

    Indigenous Employment Strategy for the Australian rail industry. The purpose of the project is

    to allow ARA to develop strategies which when implemented will lead to alternative forms of

    labour supply for the Australian rail industry.

    The options and case studies outlined in this document are a result of research conducted of

    ARA Member Companies involved in Indigenous employment initiatives. Information was

    collected using the following primary and secondary research methods:

    Company websites

    Annual reports and other company publications (such as media releases)

    Journal arti