Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy

The University of the Sunshine Coast acknowledges all traditional custodians of the land and recognises the strength, resilience and capacity of Indigenous people in this land.

1. Introduction

The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is strongly committed to improving the recruitment, development and support of Indigenous people in employment in higher education. The Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy has been developed to increase teaching, mentoring and professional development opportunities for Indigenous Australians at USC. It articulates the institutional responsibility for achieving and maintaining strong representation of Indigenous people in employment at USC, and aims to enhance USC as a vibrant, modern and culturally enriched workplace.

The strategy has been written in consultation with USC’s Indigenous Services, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous USC staff, and the Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Advisory Committee including Indigenous Elders, members of the local Indigenous community, students, academics, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University. Through this consultation and engagement, an employment and career development strategy has been developed that is truly reflective of the needs of our staff, our business, and potential Indigenous employment candidates.

2. Outcomes
  • To build upon the successes of the earlier “Employment and Participation Strategy for Indigenous Australians at USC”
  • To reflect the employment priority areas identified by the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC) †
  • To ensure a work environment where respect for cultural, social and spiritual systems practised by Indigenous Australians enriches the activities of USC
  • To foster a culturally diverse workforce that is reflective of Australian society
  • To be recognised as an employer of choice by Indigenous Australians
  • To contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous Australians and communities.

† Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (2006). Report to the Minister for Education, Science and Training: 'Improving Indigenous Outcomes and Enhancing Indigenous Culture and Knowledge in Australian Higher Education'.

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3. Objectives and strategies
Objective 1

Implement culturally effective initiatives to increase the number of Indigenous people employed at USC.


The annual percentage of all Indigenous staff reflects the increasing percentage of Indigenous students at USC. *

Strategies Responsibility
1.1 Ensure all USC vacancies are circulated to Indigenous community networks and employment officers. Indigenous Services

Human Resources
1.2 Develop career services that enhance the employment outcomes of Indigenous graduands, including work experience and internship opportunities at USC. Career Connection

Indigenous Services
1.3 Promote USC’s commitment as an EEO employer to prospective employees, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Human Resources

Marketing and External Engagement

1.4 Ensure selection panel members have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Indigenous Australian societies and culture.

Human Resources

Indigenous Services
1.5 Ensure support mechanisms are in place for Indigenous staff and their supervisors (eg cultural awareness training, mentoring and orientation programs). Human Resources

Indigenous Services
1.6 Provide flexible employment arrangements to allow Indigenous staff to meet cultural responsibilities. Faculty and cost centre managers

Human Resources

* Recommendation, DEEWR Institution Assessment Framework Portfolio 2007.

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Objective 2

Support Indigenous staff to pursue and achieve their professional goals and potential.


The retention rate of Indigenous staff is equivalent to non-Indigenous staff in comparable positions.

Strategies Responsibility
2.1 Training needs of Indigenous staff are identified in their PPR meetings. Faculty and cost centre managers
2.2 Peer mentoring of Indigenous early career researchers. Teaching and Research Services

Faculty Research Coordinators
2.3 Increased scholarship opportunities for Indigenous postgraduate students. USC Foundation

Scholarships Officer
2.4 Targeted promotion of the study and research assistance schemes available to Indigenous Australian staff. Faculty and cost centre managers
2.5 Expansion of staff skills and experience through PDP, job rotation and secondment opportunities. Faculty and cost centre managers
2.6 Establish an Indigenous employee support network. Indigenous Services

Human Resources

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Objective 3

Create a culturally aware and understanding work environment.


All new staff receive cross cultural training.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Advisory Committee meets at least three times each year.

Strategies Responsibility
3.1 Liaison with all Faculties and Cost Centre Managers to promote the Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy in collaboration with workforce planning initiatives. Human Resources

Faculty and cost centre managers
3.2 Indigenous staff and students are active in University governance, leadership and management, including representation on the Indigenous Advisory Committee. Faculty and cost centre managers


Deputy Vice-Chancellor
3.3 Enhance cultural competency in managers and staff through induction and professional development programs, and cultural awareness workshops. Human Resources

Teaching and Research Services

Indigenous Services
3.4 Indigenous culture, knowledge and studies are prominent on campus through acknowledgement and ceremony, artwork, building and environment features, and marketing material. Facilities Management

Art Gallery

Marketing and External Engagement

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Objective 4

Build university relationships with community that are strong and meaningful.


Biennial consultation demonstrates that Indigenous Elders, Traditional Owners and local community organisations recognise USC’s commitment and engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Strategies Responsibility
4.1 Liaise with external agencies to promote USC as an employer committed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment. Indigenous Services
Human Resources
4.2 Communicate the USC Reconciliation Action Plan to all stakeholders. Indigenous Services
Indigenous Advisory Committee
4.3 Hold regular gatherings with local Elders and community organisations to keep open and frequent communication. Indigenous Services
4.4 Actively participate at local Indigenous events and network meetings. Indigenous Services
5. Acknowledgements

This employment and careers strategy was informed by the research and development work undertaken with community and staff by John Pearson Consulting.

The University of the Sunshine Coast acknowledges the Traditional Owners, Elders and Indigenous community members in the Montville, Noosa, Caloundra, Maroochydore, and Gympie regions for the guidance that was provided in developing this strategy document. The University also acknowledges its staff members for their commitment to supporting this strategy and their participation in its development.

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