Implementation of the Women’s Employment Strategy
The past year saw a strong recruitment effort across the Caring for Country Branch. As a result, 40% of permanent NLC ranger positions are held by women, and all NLC ranger groups now employ women rangers. Furthermore, 12 out of 13 ranger groups saw comparable levels of participation from women and men in training opportunities. This progress is on track towards half the 2021 targets set out in the Women’s Employment Strategy (WES), detailed in the table below.
The WES targets that require more attention are the employment of Indigenous women in leadership roles, women rangers’ access to vehicles, and female representation in the governance of ranger programs. The Caring for Country Branch will improve outcomes towards these targets by increasing the number of Indigenous identified leadership positions across ranger groups through our Career Pathways Program, updating our fleet, and building local governance bodies to oversee ranger work.
Development of the Youth Engagement Strategy
NLC ranger groups work for peoples with a diversity of cultures and histories and operate under widely different circumstances. All NLC ranger groups identify teaching the upcoming generations of custodians how they are connected to country and each other as a core aspiration. Rangers are already working hard towards this, whether by helping children and families to spend time on country, supporting their languages and cultures being taught in school, or by employing young people as rangers.
NLC rangers have raised the following key priorities for the CFC Branch to support to their youth engagement:
- Uphold customary governance of youth engagement on country – NLC ranger groups work on behalf of the Traditional Owners of the country they care for, and recommend that plans and decisions about youth engagement on country be made with its custodians.
- Recognise and support rangers’ existing youth engagement efforts – rather than imposing new tasks on programs, NLC rangers request that resources and time are allocated towards TO-driven youth engagement work they are already undertaking. Youth engagement needs to be recognised as a legitimate part of ranger work, so it can be budgeted for and prioritised in planning.
- Hold rangers’ youth engagement partners accountable to clear terms of reference – collaborations with schools and other youth programs have fallen through in the past when participating staff members leave the community, or when there are irreconcilable differences in expectations. Asking schools and other organisations to take responsibility for partnerships and commit to them long-term could make these valuable collaborations more sustainable.
- Ensure children participating in ranger activities are safe – NLC rangers recommend that children are supervised by a responsible adult (parent, guardian, teacher, sport and recreation supervisor etc.) at all times, and are transported in a vehicle with adequate safety restraints.
- Provide mentorship to young rangers –≠ when a ranger faces hardship, it can affect the whole ranger group. NLC senior rangers and coordinators report deep concern for their younger colleagues, and difficulty in helping them with serious personal issues on top of their already heavy workload.
In direct response to these priorities identified by NLC rangers, the Caring for Country Branch has developed the youth engagement targets detailed in the table below. These targets can be achieved through the roles and responsibilities proposed in the Youth Engagement Strategy.