The University's Statement of Intent and major planning document Flinders Strategic Priorities and Future Directions 2001-2005 (FSPFD) provide the framework for planning and priority setting.
Those documents have identified the key characteristics of Flinders as:
- an internally cohesive university, which combines a participatory mode of governance with effective and responsible leadership, and with a sense of community characterised by a regard for the well being of students and staff and a commitment to equity, diversity and cultural inclusiveness;
- an outward-looking university which seeks out, listens to, takes seriously and meets wherever possible the needs of the multiple external communities that have expectations of universities generally and of Flinders in particular;
- a university of academic breadth, depth and high quality which supports both disciplinary specialities and cross-disciplinary collaborations in education and research, encourages innovation and applies a future oriented critical perspective to all its current and proposed new activities.
The University has a strong commitment to cultural diversity and to sustaining and enhancing a culturally inclusive environment as articulated in our Cultural Diversity & Inclusive Practice Statement, June 2002:
- Flinders University values and respects the social, cultural and linguistic diversity of its community and encourages inclusive practices in order to provide an environment that is creative, innovative, flexible and productive.
An employment strategy for Indigenous Australians fits well with the commitments of that statement and with our recognition of Indigenous Australians' unique position as first nation's people.
Indigenous Australian people are people of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent and who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and are accepted as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in the community in which they live or have lived.
Aim of the ESIA
To improve the representation, participation and retention of Indigenous Australian people within the University.
Objectives of the ESIA
The objectives of the Strategy as set out in the EBA 2004-2006 are to:
- encourage and foster Indigenous Australian employment and participation at all levels of work activity;
- maximise staff development along with the transfer of job skills and information in order to increase Indigenous knowledge, independence, remuneration, job security and self sufficiency; and
- facilitate and encourage the direct involvement of Indigenous Australian staff members in determining their own career strategies, goals and objectives.
- However, in addition to these, the ESIA hopes to be a platform to further introduce Indigenous Australian culture to the University, share and participate in the exchange of cultural experience and knowledge (where appropriate) and improve the relationship between Indigenous Australians and the wider community.
Objective 1 - Encourage and foster Indigenous Australian employment and participation at all levels of work activity (Representation)
Local Indigenous communities are the most likely sources of potential employees. Trust and respect are essential elements in developing links with these communities. By building ongoing consultative relationships with those communities and promoting the University to the communities as an organisation that values and embraces cultural diversity, Flinders will gain the interest of potential Indigenous applicants.
- Consult existing Indigenous staff members on what Flinders does well to support their recruitment, participation and career development, identify what could be improved, and seek consensus on the approach to be used for this Employment Strategy.
- Consult the Indigenous communities that are already linked with Flinders through Yunggorendi about their views of Flinders as a prospective employer and of this Employment Strategy to identify issues to be addressed and seek consensus on the approach to be used.
- Identify and develop links with:
- funding bodies offering grants to support the introduction of the Strategy
- key organisations (government and non-government) that have experience and expertise in the training and employment area for Indigenous Australians to maximise the recruitment and participation opportunities
- key University Units that will be engaged in supporting the Strategy.
- The appropriate Indigenous communities/existing staff have been identified and a database developed (completed December 2004).
- Issues raised by the various appropriate Indigenous communities/existing staff have been identified and support gained for an Employment Strategy for Indigenous Australians (completed December 2004).
- Links made with key organisations which emphasise employment matters and a consultative process established
- Relevant funding bodies have been identified and grant applications made (completed October 2005).
- ESIA Project Officer appointed (in progress November 2005).
- A range of strategies established in response to the consultative process designed to improve representation of Indigenous people in both academic and general staff employment levels and including performance indicators of effectiveness of those strategies.
Objective 2 - Maximise staff development along with the transfer of job skills and information in order to increase indigenous knowledge, independence, remuneration, job security and self-sufficiency (Participation)
The basis of recognition and respect for Indigenous people lies with an understanding and awareness of Indigenous cultures and the issues facing Indigenous people today within and outside the workplace. Maximising development opportunities for individual Indigenous staff that address issues facing them is paramount. Providing opportunities for the University Community to engage with Indigenous cultures to assist in developing an understanding of issues facing Indigenous Australians joining the University staff must also be available.
- Examine findings from consultative processes to identify initial individual developmental needs.
- Identify, establish and encourage opportunities for interactions between the University staff and Indigenous communities eg NAIDOC week, hosting cultural events.
- Specific initiatives for both academic staff and general staff that respond to the issues raised during consultation are developed and implemented eg facilitated communication network.
- Specific issues relating to recruitment/selection/induction for Indigenous people to be addressed primarily within mainstream staff development training programs.
- Evidence of increased participation of the Indigenous community in appropriate University events.
- Increased opportunities for the University community to engage in cross-cultural awareness activities.
Objective 3 - Facilitate and encourage the direct involvement of Indigenous Australian staff members in determining their own career strategies, goals and objectives (Retention)
Participation of Indigenous Australians in cultural, community or related activities enhances their effectiveness as employees and is therefore of direct benefit to the University.
These activities are recognised in the Yunggorendi academic profiles and these should be used as the framework for encouraging self-determination of career strategies for new Indigenous Australian Academics.
Similar recognition needs to be included in the General Staff classification criteria and the Performance Review and Development be used as the framework for involving self-determination of career strategies for new Indigenous Australian general staff.
- Examine findings from consultative processes.
- Ensure all Indigenous Australian staff participate in the APRS or RPP and that the supervisor of each staff member is familiar with particular issues facing new Indigenous staff members.
- Develop and implement specific career development initiatives to respond to the issues raised.
- Develop and implement specific Supervisor sessions on APRS/RPP (Academic Performance Review Scheme / Performance Review and Development).
- Indigenous employees will have an individual development plan in accordance with the APRS or RPP.
Review of Strategy
- Initial report to Manager: HR from Project Officer to identify outcomes of consultative processes, key organisations identified that will be of assistance to the ESIA, and funding sources to support an ongoing Project Officer identified (completed October 2005).
- Ongoing communication (reporting and feedback against identified performance indicators) with appropriate / identified Indigenous communities, existing Indigenous Australian staff and ESIA Advisory group (see below) to ensure qualitative assessment.
- Annual review of the number of Indigenous Australian people actually employed in both academic and general staff levels (31 March each year) to ensure quantitative assessment.
- Progress report on implementation and effectiveness of the ESIA to VCC annually (June/July) with final report due 2009 (5 years) (or at end of 3 year contract of IEC).
A Project Officer / Indigenous Employment Coordinator be appointed to coordinate activities of, and to support, the ESIA under the general direction of the Deputy Manager Human Resources.
The role of the Project Officer will be to:
- Coordinate the consultative process of the Employment Strategy, identify funding sources and provide report to Manager HR (completed).
The role of the Indigenous Employment Coordinator will be to:
- facilitate the establishment of a support network for Indigenous staff
- develop strategies and performance indicators in response to the consultative process, maintain ongoing communications with local communities, existing staff and advisory group, prepare reports on progress of the ESIA
- be a key source of support available to Indigenous staff and ensure that their general well being is maintained at all times.
The Indigenous Employment Coordinator to be executive officer to and be supported by an advisory group comprising:
- Nominee of the Vice-Chancellor, (DVC Academic)
- Senior Academic Staff member (Dean School of Law)
- Personnel Consultant
- Manager, Equal Opportunity & Diversity
- Manager, Staff Development & Training Unit
- Director of Yunggorendi or nominee, and
- Local Indigenous communities representatives (in consultation with Yunggorendi)
- An Indigenous staff member nominated by the Vice-Chancellor following consultation with indigenous staff.
This will ensure that the University's ESIA responds directly to the needs of the communities and that the communities support the Indigenous Employment Coordinator when issues arise.
Related Legislation and University Policies
Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA)
Racial Discrimination Act 1975
Flinders University documents
- Flinders Way
- Flinders Strategic Priorities and Forward Directions 2002 - 2005
- Enterprise Bargaining Agreement 2004 - 2006
- Equal Opportunity Policy
- Flinders University Aboriginal Education Strategy
- Individual Staff Grievance Procedures.