Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New partnership to help Indigenous job seekers check into the hospitality industry

Leading Australian employment service Mission Australia is teaming up with IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) on an innovative new program to help boost Indigenous employment in Australia’s hospitality industry.

Mission Australia Employment Solutions Project Manager Natalie Therese said the new joint Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) aims to help tackle Indigenous unemployment by placing 60 Indigenous job seekers in roles within IHG’s InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels across Australia within the next twelve months.

There are four IHG hotels participating in the Northern Territory: the Holiday Inn Esplanade Darwin, Holiday Inn Darwin, Crowne Plaza Darwin and Crowne Plaza Alice Springs.

The initiative funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is the first nation-wide IEP partnership Mission Australia has entered into, following the success of a number of local IEPs in individual states.

“This partnership is about opening doors and creating opportunities for Indigenous Australians to get a start in the hospitality industry,” Ms Therese said.

“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate among Indigenous Australians last year was more than three times higher than that of non-Indigenous Australians.

“Across the country right now, Mission Australia has more than 3,700 Indigenous people registered as active job seekers.

“We see this nation-wide IEP as a step in the right direction towards tackling Indigenous unemployment right across Australia and we’re delighted to be working with one of the world’s leading hotel chains to do so.”

According to IHG chief operating officer Australasia, Bruce McKenzie, the Mission Australia initiative sets an example of the level of commitment required to create more education, employment and career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

“We set a clear target of ensuring at least three percent of our Australian workforce is made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders within three years, when we introduced the hospitality industry’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) late last year. Our partnership with Mission Australia will help us make tangible progress toward realising that commitment.

“We know from experience that the real impact in closing the gap in opportunities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians happens at a community level. Working alongside Mission Australia, we’ll be providing sustainable training, education, employment and career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and their communities across the Country.

“It’s initiatives like this that will make the strongest impact in the ongoing call for sustainable opportunities for indigenous Australians. We can’t wait to get started,” Bruce said.

Ms Therese said Mission Australia will be working with IHG’s hotels to help place the right people in the right roles – targeting both job seekers registered with Mission Australia Employment Solutions services, as well as those who express an interest through their local community.

“Mission Australia will screen potential candidates and provide them with work ready training ahead of an interview with the local hotel,” she said.

“Successful candidates will then be signed up for a traineeship with IHG to achieve a Certificate III in Hospitality Operations, with training to be provided by leading training organisation Untamed Group.

“Mentors will also be assigned to the candidates to help them succeed in their new job and manage the challenges of their traineeship.

“This is about providing lasting employment opportunities for Indigenous job seekers, and helping to build a fairer Australia.”

Mission Australia Employment Solutions’ Nathalie Therese is in the NT until Friday, 9 September and is available for interview.

Mission Australia Employment Solutions is one of Australia’s largest providers of the Federal Government’s Job Services Australia (JSA) program, and in 2010 assisted more than 50,000 Australians into long-term employment.

For further information on the IEP and Mission Australia Employment Solutions, please contact Mission Australia on 13 11 24.

Media Contacts:

Mission Australia: Jeannette Button (08) 8941 9169 or 0407 727 080

IHG: Nicole Campbell (02) 9264 4411 or 0423 965 025

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