Despite the 2008 ‘Close the Gap’ framework, there is still an obvious big employment gap between non-indigenous and indigenous Australians. In an effort to actually close that gap, programs continue to be implemented by both the government and not-for-profit organisations, which emphasise the importance of education to enhance the chance of aboriginal Australians gain meaningful jobs. Moreover, there is Australia’s indigenous employment program known as IAGDP (Indigenous Australian Government Development Program) helping Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people who may be interested to work in the APS (Australian Public Service).
The indigenous employment program aims to improve the employment outcomes, opportunities, and experiences for all indigenous Australians in the APS. They value the skills, unique life experiences, and capability of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal employees, and draw from those, too. Thus, they are committed to developing a versatile and talented workforce. Applications are open annually between April and May for roles that will commence in February on the following year. Positions are typically available in large regional centres, some capital cities, and in Canberra.
The indigenous employment program is seen as a critical step towards providing more jobs to an underappreciated community. There are many benefits of the program, such as the provision of structured development and learning to help indigenous people build a career in the APS, and possibly in other industries. The program also supports them to take a diploma course in different specialisations that may interest them. Other benefits include study assistance, competitive salaries, employment conditions, and superannuation, peer support, coaching, mentoring, and permanent full-time position upon completion of the program.
The type of work involved in the indigenous employment program will vary, depending on the agency that participants will be working in. It could involve data entry, records management, answering enquiries, communications, human resources management, contract and project management, procurement, and other general clerical, administrative, operational, or systems support work.