Reality check in the red centre
3 July 2015
Justin Moses - a 28 year veteran at Westpac Group and current Head of Knowledge & Development in Compliance, Legal & Secretariat in Sydney - recently took a great leap and applied for a Jawun Indigenous Community Secondment.
He has now returned from his eye-opening secondment, based at the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council in Alice Springs, working on the implementation of the Empowered Communities Indigenous reform framework.
Justin says the experience has given him first hand insights into the resilience and optimism of remote communities in the face of very real and significant challenges.
"During our induction week, we travelled out to a remote Indigenous community - Aputula - some 400kms SE of Alice Springs," Justin said.
"We were warmly welcomed by a hospitable community that generously opened its homes to us. But it was very apparent that the physical isolation of the community creates enormous challenges. I've been struck by the size of the gap in living standards. Aspects of that are challenging when you feel that you lead a privileged life," he said.
Justin says the experience has been enriching from many perspectives.
"The sheer resilience and strength of the NPY community leaders has been truly inspiring. I do genuinely feel like the input I'm providing will help ensure the sustainability of the programs I'm contributing to. It's gratifying to feel that the skills and experience gained from a career at Westpac can generate real value in a very different context," Justin said.
"I previously knew very little about the environment I'm now living and working in, and many of my incorrect assumptions about the lives and culture of Indigenous Australians have been set straight.
"Knowing that my contribution is wholly sponsored by Westpac, and by my own team, makes me feel proud of Westpac's long-standing support of Indigenous Australians," he said.
About Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships
Westpac Group employees in Australia have a unique opportunity to participate in a life-changing secondment to share their skills with Indigenous communities. With management support, employees can apply to take up a placement, generally for six weeks or in some cases up to 12 weeks, in either an urban, regional or remote Indigenous community.
Organised in partnership with Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships, these secondments are a practical way for Westpac employees to experience enormous personal and professional growth while contributing to our collective efforts to help build strong and prosperous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Since helping to co-found Jawun fifteen years ago, around 700 Westpac Group employees have been on Jawun secondments. When including the employees of other corporate and public organisations who partner with the program, more than 1700 employees have undertaken secondments.