OUTPUT 3.2. EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Assist in the economic advancement of Aboriginal people through employment, education and training, particularly in relation to land use proposals.
The CLC continued to maximise sustainable Aboriginal employment and training outcomes through advocacy with government and industry, direct job placement, and workplace support aimed at employee retention. It converts employment opportunities arising from land use agreements into jobs for Aboriginal people and has built a reputation for placing people from disadvantaged communities in resource industry employment. It also offers land management and enterprise development partnerships, strong community networks, and familiarity with constituent aspirations and circumstances.
MINING AND EXPLORATION
The CLC helped 84 Aboriginal job seekers with applications and placements. It referred 56 of them to the Newmont Corporation and its contractors and nine of these individuals gained employment. It met regularly with the company’s social responsibility team to help it revise its Aboriginal employment and training procedure. It also assisted the company to plan cultural awareness training, focussing on the participation of traditional owners in the training sessions.
The CLC helped the Parks and Wildlife Commission Northern Territory (PWC NT) to employ and train Aboriginal people in jointly managed national parks. It took part in five selection panels and supported Aboriginal applicants, resulting in four new Aboriginal PWC NT employees in Central Australia. Despite these efforts, the number of Aboriginal people employed in the parks remains well below traditional owner expectations. The CLC offered to help the commission to increase Aboriginal employment by letting the CLC’s employment team promote PWC NT jobs to job seekers and contact them directly.
Figure 5. Ranger employment type, 2010–20
CULTURAL AND NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: CLC RANGER PROGRAM
The Commonwealth’s indigenous advancement strategy and the Real Jobs (Ranger) program of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) funded 87 CLC rangers across 12 groups, including casuals. This equates to 71.2 fulltime equivalent positions. The ILSC funded a quarter of the positions.
The CLC ranger program’s entry-level positions build capacity and interest among young Aboriginal people with little or no work experience. The program also employs casuals on larger surveys, fire management, weed control and fencing projects. This often results in permanent jobs.
Employment outcomes and ranger retention
Eleven rangers and ranger support officers, were in fulltime positions on 30 June 2020, 54 were parttime and eight were casuals. A variety of employment options are needed to accommodate the responsibilities of and demands on remote community residents. Many prefer parttime and casual employment as this allows time to attend to family and community needs.
Over the past decade there have been 925 CLC rangers, aged between 16 and 67, possessing a wide range of knowledge and skills. In 2019–20 the number of ranger support officer positions, a stepping stone to the ranger group coordinator role, increased from three to four.
Figure 6 shows an all-time low in female employment, with most female rangers continuing to work in groups led by women. The CLC plans to investigate the reasons for this decline so it can improve female participation.
Figure 6. Percentage of women rangers, 2010–20
Quality targeted training and professional development
Training is an important component of the ranger program. It develops basic work skills and competencies, supports experienced rangers to complete studies in conservation and land management, and promotes rangers to ranger support and coordinator roles.
Rangers participated in 14 events delivering 9,140 hours of accredited training. Rangers spent 43 per cent of those hours studying for Certificate III in conservation and land management (more than ever before), 47 per cent for Certificate II, and 10 per cent for Certificate I. There were 74 new enrolments in accredited courses: 42 in Certificate II, 22 in Certificate III and 10 in Certificate IV. Fifteen rangers graduated with a Certificate II, and four with a Certificate III. Training stopped following the COVID-19 restrictions.
Training resources continue to be distributed unequally among ranger groups. Groups with a relatively stable workforce and experienced coordinators completed more training hours, while those without these strengths missed out.
The Ltyentye Apurte ranger group, with its stable workforce and experienced senior rangers, undertook the most training. Groups in very remote communities, such as the Kaltukatjara, Murnkurrumurnkurru and Tjakura rangers, undertook the least. Rangers in these groups were disadvantaged because of the training’s high cost and other delivery challenges. The significant reduction in training for the Muru-warinyi Ankkul group reflects changes and upheaval during its 10 months without a coordinator.
CLC rangers undertook 3,610 hours of compulsory workplace health and safety training. Twelve rangers took part in accredited training in the preparation, storage and safe handling of chemicals, 33 rangers completed first aid training and 14 rangers improved their plant and machinery skills. The Centre for Appropriate Technology delivered plant operator training for erosion control and track maintenance.
The annual ranger camp planned for March 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic.
School-based capacity building
The CLC rangers continued to work with students in remote community classrooms and on country, with junior ranger programs, traditional owners, parents and other interest groups. These interactions demonstrated the value of ranger employment and career paths, contributed to learning outcomes, and motivated students to continue their schooling. The Ltyentye Apurte Rangers conducted a country visit to the Keringke rock hole to facilitate knowledge transfer and demonstrate ranger work with eleven 5-to-7-year-olds from the Ltyentye Apurte school. The students and rangers hiked for a kilometre up steep, rocky country to the rock hole. The rangers showed the students petroglyphs and bush foods and spoke about the cultural and environmental significance of the site. The teacher read the story of Keringke in English, as told by a senior traditional owner, while the rangers interpreted it back into Arrernte.
The Murnkurrumurnkurru Rangers delivered 13 junior ranger activities to Kalkaringi students. They searched for bush tucker and medicine, timber for making artefacts, and animal tracks. They undertook bird, water insect and other fauna surveys, and used camera traps. They also propagated native seeds, made damper, and learned about looking after rivers and to watch out for saltwater crocodiles. The junior rangers also took part in a Freedom Day Walk-off re-enactment.
Ranger mentoring support
Four ranger mentors implemented more proactive ranger development initiatives, thanks to ILSC funding for two additional mentor positions. They undertook 43 visits to help rangers to self-manage issues affecting attendance and performance. Work-related coaching accounted for most of the mentoring activities, followed by support with health and wellbeing, alcohol and drug use, and financial and legal issues. When COVID-19 travel restrictions put a stop to face-to-face mentoring, mentors stayed in touch with rangers through phone and video meetings.