Making new connections for Indigenous employment
My name is Jamie Hardy; I am an Aboriginal Kamilaroi man from Brewarrina, which is located approximately 1000 kilometres North West of Sydney NSW. Brewarrina is a small country town of around 1500 people with minimal employment opportunities and little social activity. Much of the population in Bre is Aboriginal, my family are there.
And some of my family are here too. I moved to Sydney in December 2005, working at a small Non Government Organisation Indigenous Employment Agency with about 85 employees nationally. In September 2011 I took the big step to join Telstra’s Diversity team as Indigenous Employment Manager. It was a big deal coming from a small workplace to one of Australia’s largest companies, and the change was significant for me. At Telstra, my work is about improving the attraction, recruitment, engagement and retention of Indigenous employees.
In the short time that I’ve been here it has been a huge learning curve to work in my very first corporate role. What an amazing opportunity to grow my skills and professional development but also be involved in many exciting projects and initiatives that I am passionate about. The cornerstone of this work sits within Telstra’s Reconciliation Action Plan and some great initiatives that we have been working on, like traineeships, cadetships, cultural appreciation inside Telstra, mentoring of new and existing employees and creating new pathways for fantastic Indigenous people to join us in our retail business . Already, new team members have joined us in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, with many more opportunities available regularly.
It has been an amazing first six months!
I was reminded of how far I’ve come already when I recently met two Indigenous students who were doing a post-Year 12 school internship with us through Yalari and the team in Telstra Wholesale. Kyol Blakeney and Emma Pope participated in a three month summer program to experience what it’s like to work in a corporate environment prior to commencing their university studies.
Both students worked in the Wholesale Customer Operations Team and absolutely shone with their natural skills and ability to achieve “amazing results”, Dom Lombardo, Regional Manager said. Dom also said that it was a pleasure to work with two shining individuals and wishes them luck with their future endeavours.
For me, I was able to hang out with both Kyol and Emma throughout their work placement and they were both so pleased to have been given the opportunity to work with Telstra. They shared that they have not only experienced a taste of the corporate world but also learnt what it’s like to earn their own money and “live in the real world independently”. Emma and Kyol are extremely inspirational for other Indigenous students and I too wish them both all the very best in their future.
As you can see, it has already been a busy start to my career with Telstra and I look forward to continuing to share more of what we’re doing in Indigenous employment at Telstra through more posts on Telstra Exchange. Until next time.