LCC support indigenous trainees

LISMORE City Council will soon take on four new school-based Aboriginal trainees.

The new positions are part of the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) adopted by Lismore City Council at its December meeting

While doing their HSC and studying, the four will spend 100 days or more on the job - two in Library and Information Services, one in Business and the fourth in Automotive.

They will all finish school in 2014 with a Certificate II in their chosen field.

"Council is very keen to grow our numbers of young people on staff," human resources manager Isabel Perdriau said.

"When young Aboriginal people join us and work amongst our growing number of existing Aboriginal staff members, it sends a very positive signal to the community that we welcome and encourage Aboriginal participation in the workforce.

"This is a great opportunity for these young people to act as role models by being part of a large organisation where they can learn new skills and provide a worthy contribution to our services for the ratepayers of Lismore."

The Reconciliation Action Plan is a proactive strategy designed to enhance the lives of local Aboriginal people.

Following its adoption by the council, the RAP was forwarded to the board of Reconciliation Australia for endorsement.

During the RAP's development, senior staff spent time at Cubawee, a former Aboriginal mission near Tuncester, undertaking cultural awareness training with Aunty Hazel Rhodes and her daughter Debbie.

They also spent time with an original teacher from Cubawee, a man now in his 90s, and a council executive director said it was one of the most powerful and meaningful experiences of his life.

The RAP clearly identifies that more employment opportunities are a key driver in helping to actively 'Close the Gap' in Aboriginal communities.

Lismore Council already has 14 Aboriginal employees and the four new school-based traineeships are yet another stepping stone in realising more indigenous jobs, made possible through Elsa Dixon funding.

The Elsa Dixon Aboriginal Employment Program provides funding to support organisations to provide training and establish a pathway into the workforce and includes mentoring for the school students under the Way Ahead Mentoring program.

These traineeships follow hot on the heels of a recent project with Woolworths, which partnered with Lismore City Council and TAFE to provide retail training for 13 young Aboriginal people.

The four new school-based traineeships are funded by the Department of Education and Communities State Training Services Aboriginal Services.

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