Work Readiness for Indigenous People Program
Did you know that less than 5% of eligible indigenous people in East Arnhem Land have a drivers licence?
The Work Readiness for Indigenous People Program was developed in recognition of the barriers that often impede people from getting a job. In remote Indigenous Communities in East Arnhem, there are many jobs available for Indigenous people who can meet basic requirements such i.e. learners permit, driver’s licence, plant and machinery licence, safety induction and construction white cards. However, attaining these basic regulatory licenses is difficult or impossible for many Indigenous people in the East Arnhemland Communities for two main reasons.
In many cases the births of Indigenous people were not registered correctly or they have changed their names for cultural reasons through the course of their lives. This prevents them from attaining approved identification to comply with legislative identification processes such as applying for a learner permit. Indigenous people are generally not able to travel to Darwin to address these issues nor do they have adequate understanding of the process of legal name changes (advertising in the newspaper) or financial resources to undertake this task.
A further impediment is the lack of culturally appropriate training resources available in remote communities for Indigenous people with limited literacy skills. In the main resources are developed by and for English speaking participants using terminology and words foreign to remote Indigenous people. Gaining a learner’s permit requires amongst other things a level of understanding of terms ie roundabout, fire hydrant, curbing and traffic lights as well as learning the complicated road rules. For an Indigenous person failing tests results in shame and in many cases discourages them from attempting a second time.
East Arnhem Shire Council through community and agency consultation developed the Work Readiness for Indigenous People (WRIP) initiative to address these problems and enhance the work readiness and employment skills for our Indigenous community members. The ability of an Indigenous person to have a recognised photographic identity which meets legislative compliance combined with access to culturally developed training resources, has the potential to have immediate as well as long term benefits for remote Indigenous Australians.
The WRIP project comprises of two differing components being delivered concurrently and reliant upon each other to meet outcomes.
Part A - the EASC Community ID Card provides a photographic identification which will address the naming inconsistencies between birth registration and name changes common in Indigenous culture that prevents them from obtaining a licence. The EASC ID card has stringent approval and checking guidelines and has gained acceptance from the Motor Vehicle Registry (MVR), Justice Department NT and SafeNT Police. In addition MVR have committed to recognising the EASC ID Card as a Category B document for Evidence of Identity.
Part B – The project aims to support Indigenous Work Readiness through providing learning resources in Indigenous language delivered using an audio-visual software platform supported by simple English rote learning. This strategy will enable remote Indigenous community residents to achieve basic work readiness skills and training within their communities, to enable local employment and advancement. The learning resources will be developed for both stand alone computers and a web based interactive learning management system which will provide a record of achievements.
The Work Readiness for Indigenous People Program is funded by the Northern Territory Government - Department of Education & Training.