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Westpac welcomes Government's Indigenous Employment Initiative


20 March 2015

Westpac Group today welcomed the Australian Government's announcement of a new program to significantly boost employment among Indigenous Australians, the 'Employment Parity Initiative'.

Westpac Group remains committed to ensuring Westpac's workforce includes a population of Indigenous Australians on par with the broader Australian population.

As one of Australia's largest employers, recruiting and creating career paths for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a central pillar of Westpac Group's Reconciliation Action Plan.

The Group has made significant progress towards achieving its goal to employ at least 500 additional Indigenous Australians in the three years to 2017. In meeting this goal, by FY17 the number of Indigenous Australian employees across the Westpac Group is expected to be on par with, or exceed, the proportion in the broader Australian population.

Jason Yetton, Group Executive of Westpac Retail & Business Banking said that while setting ambitious recruitment targets was important, the Group was equally focused on stimulating long-lasting and meaningful careers for employees.

"As a top 200 employer, we believe the objective of employment parity for people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is an important one.

"This is particularly relevant in light of the recent finding in the Australian Government's 'Closing the Gap' report that employment has declined since 2008.

"We also know that recruiting people is not enough. Success can only be achieved if Indigenous Australian employees feel supported and engaged in our workplaces and enjoy long-lasting careers in which they attain professional and personal satisfaction.

"That's why we are working to create a new retention reporting framework and tailored career development and mentoring programs to better support the professional development and leadership aspirations of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to transition into specialist and leadership roles," Mr Yetton said.

Westpac Group has a broad suite of initiatives developed in collaboration with partner organisations aimed at creating direct and indirect employment opportunities for people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, including:

  • A 10-year commitment with CareerTrackers to place 40 Indigenous Australian university interns annually (at least 400 interns over 10 years);
  • Traineeships for adults to gain experience in the financial services industry;
  • A pilot apprenticeship program, called 'Warrigal', with catering partner Compass Group focused on gaining hospitality industry qualifications and practical experience, supported by holistic mentoring at work and home;
  • Continuing to increase the number of Indigenous small businesses being established or expanded through access to Westpac microfinance loans in partnership with Many Rivers Microfinance;
  • Committing $3 million to Indigenous-owned businesses within Westpac Group's supply chain; and
  • Delivering a new financial governance education program to more than 30 Indigenous-owned organisations.

Westpac Group looks forward to working with the Australian Government, suppliers, business partners and customers as it moves towards meeting Indigenous Australian employment parity targets for Australia's largest companies.