The FINANCIAL — Qantas on November 17 marks a year since the launch of its Reconciliation Action Plan by announcing a partnership with IBM to establish a scheme to increase the number of Indigenous Australians working in the Information Technology (IT) industry.
The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said that Indigenous peoples had been traditionally under-represented in the IT sector.
"Qantas is one of the largest corporate employers of IT professionals in Australia, and IBM is the largest services company in Australia, so by joining forces we are well-positioned to make a significant impact."
The scheme, to commence on 4 December 2008, will focus on:
– inspiring Indigenous school children to get excited about IT through IT camps and skills workshops;
– provide traineeships across the industry for Indigenous high school students; and
– partnering with tertiary institutions to offer graduate positions to qualified Indigenous graduates.
"The project will commence with two workshops for Indigenous employees, students and members of industry and academia, to better ascertain how Qantas can attract and retain Indigenous Australians in IT roles," Mr Dixon said.
Mr Dixon said the partnership with IBM was one of several new initiatives aimed at building Indigenous employment opportunities at Qantas and contributing to the recognition and development of Indigenous cultural and tourism ventures. In addition, from 2009, Qantas will:
– have Qantas Cabin Crew make an Acknowledgement of Country announcement on all international flights landing in Australia on Sorry Day in February, during Reconciliation Week in May and during NAIDOC Week in July;
– partner with the Australia Council for the Arts to create the Qantas Young and Emerging Indigenous Visual Arts Award to recognise the role of younger Indigenous artists in keeping Indigenous culture strong;
– support the Australia Council's Red Ochre Award for an outstanding, established Indigenous artist; and
– be the Official Airline sponsor of the annual Australian Indigenous Tourism Conference, which enables Indigenous tourism operators to network and leverage their cultural capital.
Mr Dixon said Qantas was pleased with the progress of its Indigenous programs.
"We are confident of meeting our target of 450 Indigenous employees by June 2010, our sponsorships remain highly successful and our Indigenous staff engagement initiatives are well underway," he said.
Mr Dixon said the Indigenous Pilot Cadet initiative announced last year was progressing well, with one cadet having completed training, another cadet still in training and a further seven candidates preparing to commence training.
"This is a major investment by Qantas in well-regarded and highly skilled careers for Indigenous Australians," Mr Dixon said.
Qantas first established its Indigenous employment program in 1988.