SA Water's involvement in a state-wide Aboriginal engagement and retention program has seen the utility employ more Aboriginal cadets than any other organisation in South Australia during the program’s development, and is just one of the drivers behind its achievement of 2.9 per cent Aboriginal employment across the organisation.
The majority Aboriginal-owned, led and staffed PwC's Indigenous Consulting managed the program, which focused on coordinating Aboriginal cadetships for university students.
SA Water General Manager of Strategy, Engagement and Innovation Anna Jackson said its participation in the program has led to the creation of numerous positions for Aboriginal students across a variety of disciplines and is supporting professional level pathways for its people.
"We were able to host 13 undergraduates, six of which were successful in securing paid cadetships within our organisation across Science, IT, Finance, Engineering, Business and Communications Design," Anna said.
“We also created a new position in our Diversity and Inclusion team with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Retention Adviser. This role focuses on increasing and retaining our Aboriginal workforce, professional and career development, mentoring and support, raising cultural awareness and creating strong partnerships with the community.
"The program strongly aligns with our own Aboriginal employment and retention strategy and is a key goal of our 2020-23 Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan.
"With the strategy as a guide, we’re also creating traineeships in both the field and professional areas, providing ongoing work experience opportunities for students by partnering with education facilities, and removing barriers through the recruitment process.”
PwC's Indigenous Consulting was engaged by the South Australian Department for Innovation and Skills to facilitate the Governor’s Aboriginal Employment Industry Clusters Cadetship Program.
Director Jay Edmondson said critical to its success was the development of strong relationships with South Australian universities and employers looking to connect with students and provide them with work opportunities.
“The program successfully placed 31 students across 16 organisations into paid cadetships over a 12-month period across South Australia and SA Water were a real success of the program," Jay said.
"This has been really fulfilling for PwC's Indigenous Consulting and I personally feel proud that over the course of 12 months, we've enabled Aboriginal students who were part of the program to take the first steps into their future career.”
‘The Governor’s Aboriginal employment industry clusters cadetship program’ was presented at Ozwater’21 – Australia’s international water conference and exhibition – at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Wednesday 5 May 2021.
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