Indigenous communities invited to validate co-designed youth employment program

The On-Country Pathways team is hitting the road again – this time it’s to get validation from Indigenous communities in the Riverina Murray region of NSW for the co-designed youth employment program we’ll take to the Commonwealth Government for funding in April.

Dates and venues

  • 6 March, Deniliquin RSL Club, 12 – 2pm
  • 8 March, Griffith Leagues Club, 9am – 11am
  • 8 March, Leeton Soldiers Club, 12 – 2pm
  • 8 March, Narrandera Ex Servicemen’s Club, 3 – 5pm
  • 10 March, Albury & District Local Aboriginal Land Council, 12 – 2pm
  • 14 March, Junee Ex Services Memorial Club, 11:30am – 1:30pm
  • 14 March, Cootamundra Indigenous Community Centre, 3:15 – 5:15pm
  • 15 March, Harden Country Club, 11am – 1pm
  • 15 March, Cowra Services Club, 4 – 6pm
  • 16 March, West Wyalong Local Aboriginal Land Council, 9 – 11am
  • 16 March, Temora Community Centre, 12:30 – 2:30pm
  • 16 March, Ngurra Hub, Ashmont, Wagga Wagga, 4 – 6pm
  • 17 March, Gundagai Neighbourhood Centre, 9 – 11am
  • 17 March, Cooee Cottage, Tumut, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

General manager Jebb Hutchison and program manager Darren visited 14 communities in February to discuss the barriers to employment for young First Nations people and get input into the design of a program that will provide meaningful career and employment opportunities.

They found the issues were similar to those faced by young First Nations people in Albury Wodonga where On-Country Pathways is based.

Lack of transport, no access to a vehicle or supervising driver to get a driver’s license, training and courses that could help are too far away in larger centres, job readiness, lack of cultural safety in the workplace, employers who mean well but don’t know how to engage with Indigenous people and social and emotional wellbeing.

Jebb said: “There’s certainly no lack of work out there, that’s not the issue.”

“But these barriers exist for our young people and the good news is, they can be overcome. We know this because we are partnered with many businesses, education, government and cultural partners in Albury Wodonga to provide work-based programs that help our young people move towards economic independence.”

He added: “We also work with local businesses to grow their understanding and awareness of our culture which helps them to provide a culturally safe work environment for Indigenous people. When people feel included and understood in the workplace, retention rates will be higher.”

Since its launch in June 2022, On-Country Pathways has worked with 22 young Indigenous people to provide work experience, traineeships, job placements and cadetships with local businesses.

The driver mentor program run by local Indigenous people has already clocked up more than 120 hours of driving with four candidates.

People who missed the first round of community engagement are welcome to attend the second round. The dates and venues are in the table opposite.

The funding application will be submitted to the Indigenous Skills and Employment Program, part of the National Indigenous Australians Agency, by 12 April. There’s more about that here:

Photo montage of Indigenous communities meetings

We are hitting the road again, visiting 14 Riverina Murray communities. To help us with planning, register your interest with Darren Moffitt on 0439 184 719 or email [email protected]