VERTO Chief Executive Officer, Ron Maxwell, today expressed concern at data presented in the Australian Social Trends report, which was released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Mr Maxwell said VERTO, as a provider of community support services and as a special provider of Aboriginal employment services, found the findings pertaining to employment barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people particularly concerning.
"The report found that if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were educated to the same levels as non-Indigenous people, the gap in labour force participation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people would decrease by half.
“The report also found that education was the single largest contributor to Aboriginal people entering the labour market,” Mr Maxwell said.
Mr Maxwell said the findings were not surprising, and these systemic issues were why VERTO offers a comprehensive training and job matching service to Aboriginal job seekers.
“The report found that Aboriginal people were twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to be unemployed (10.8 per cent compared with 5.5 per cent).
“It’s vital we all work together to change this alarming statistic, and this is why we are committed to offering a targeted and comprehensive training program and employment service for Aboriginal job seekers.
“We’re pleased that our current approach is delivering results.
“In 2013 -14, VERTO’s Job Services Australia team supported over 1000 Aboriginal job seekers, and 650 of these job seekers entered sustainable employment.
“We also signed up over 300 Aboriginal apprentices and trainees, and specialist training assistance was provided to over 500 Aboriginal people.
“In the Central West alone through the New Careers for Aboriginal People program, we assisted 79 Aboriginal people through training courses (compared with 31 people in the previous financial year), and placed 82 Indigenous people into employment (which is 54 more people than the previous financial year).
“These are real lives and communities changed,” Mr Maxwell said.
Mr Maxwell said he and his team were continuing to work with Aboriginal communities across VERTO’s footprint to find more sustainable employment opportunities for Aboriginal people.
"We look forward to continuing to work with Aboriginal communities across regional and rural New South Wales to dramatically improve these concerning statistics,” Mr Maxwell said.