Ventia's General Manager for Indigenous Employment Byron Davis presented at the 2023 APPEA Conference and Exhibition where he spoke on what it takes to create a culturally responsive and safe workplace for the advancement of First Nations people. A full copy of the paper can be accessed in the APPEA Journal, manuscript ID AJ22135.R1. 

Byron David presenting at the APPEA Conference

Attempting to close the gap with respect to employment of First Nations people is, rightly, a key goal of most Australian businesses. 

Many companies are developing Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP) or other specific strategies and policies, aimed at engaging, supporting and increasing Indigenous employees within their workforce.

However, First Nations people continue to be vastly under-represented in Australia's workforce; and of those who do obtain work, a much smaller percentage remain in sustainable employment compared to their non- Indigenous colleagues. 

As stated in the Australian Indigenous Employment Index 2022 National Report (Foreword, p.10), "For years, significant effort has been directed towards closing the Indigenous employment gap, yet it remains stubbornly persistent."

Evidence from Reconciliation Australia's 2021 State of Reconciliation in Australia report provides some insight (p.10): "Fifteen per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to feel they cannot be true to their cultures at work." To achieve meaningful and sustainable change in employment - and therefore the lives - of First Nation people, we must create culturally responsive and safe workplaces. 

A dedicated Indigenous employment, development and support team at Ventia is doing just that - helping to create an organisational culture that is trauma informed, supports community truth-telling, values First Nations people's unique ways of working, and provides individual and systemic interventions to break down barriers. 

Using a three-pronged approach - being trauma informed, prioritising personal welfare, and shifting the broader company's mindset - the TRECCA team is achieving notable results and sustainable advancement for Ventia's First Nations' employees and their communities.


Hear more from Byron on culturally responsive and safe workplaces in our video below.