CareSouth has over 600 staff and carers and supports hundreds of young people across our wide geographic footprint, many of whom are
Aboriginal.

CareSouth has worked alongside many Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander Peoples, communities and organisations in its nearly 30-year history and we strongly believe that those with whom we work and those entrusted into our care deserve to be supported by staff with strong links to one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world.

It is for this reason that CareSouth has developed its Aboriginal Employment Strategy – a developmental framework to increase and support our growing number of Aboriginal staff. The strategy outlines workplace best practice in capacity building on the skills of our existing Aboriginal staff; as well as cultural awareness training for all CareSouth staff to support them when dealing with Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities.

The Aboriginal Employment Strategy provides clear directions on how to do this through four key areas: attraction and recruitment; workplace environment; career development and retention.

“CareSouth currently has 31 Aboriginal staff members,” said our Aboriginal Community Development Officer (ACDO) Rashelle. “Several of these roles are identified positions, which means that they must be filled by an
Aboriginal person who has the specific skills in working with the Aboriginal Community or services. We want to continue to grow that number by making CareSouth an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Peoples. The Aboriginal Employment Strategy ensures that we recruit and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff who can best support children and young people to maintain their links to Culture, Kinship and Country.”

Strategies set out in the Aboriginal Employment Strategy to achieve this include cultural awareness training for all staff, supporting Aboriginal employees to access development opportunities for career progression and encourage networking, mentoring, support and retention of our
Aboriginal employees.

“It is exciting to see CareSouth make this commitment, with the Aboriginal Employment Strategy, to improve our practice in recruiting, career development and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees,” said People and Culture advisor Mel. “The Aboriginal Employment Strategy informs how staff can best support our current and future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. Working with Buwanha – CareSouth’s Aboriginal collective – has been invaluable in understanding how we can execute this essential employment strategy.”

Members of the Buwanha Aboriginal collective include Principal Officer Tracy Mayo, Aboriginal Community Development Officer Rashelle, Illawarra Permanency Support Program caseworker Hayley, Deniliquin PSP
caseworker Jake, Griffith Senior PSP caseworker Nicole, Goulburn PSP team leader Mark, Wagga Wagga Senior PSP caseworker Margarette, Illawarra support worker Bobby, Wagga Wagga support worker Shane, Brighter Futures Team Leader Emma and Brighter Futures caseworker Greer. Buwanha meets monthly to discuss strategies to strengthen, review and monitor CareSouth’s practice with Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities and ways to effect organisational change to better reflect the needs and culture of First Nations Peoples.

“We acknowledge that there is still much work to do in closing the very real and destructive gap that exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, in particular the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Out-of-Home-Care,” said CareSouth Chair Christine Cook. “Creating this framework is a step towards closing this gap.”

The Aboriginal Employment Strategy includes employing an Aboriginal trainee and providing employment and study pathways over two years. This pilot program has been rolled out in our Berkeley office with our first trainee, Tyla, beginning her new role earlier this year.

“When I came across the Aboriginal traineeship with CareSouth I knew I had to jump on this amazing opportunity and run with it to kickstart my career in community services,” said Tyla. “Since starting at CareSouth I was
welcomed with open arms by all my co-workers and have loved every moment. I am so grateful for the chance I have been given here.”

You can read more stories like this one in our latest magazine, https://www.caresouth.org.au/about-us/everyday-magazine/