Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment

Document Currently Under Review

Current Status: In Collaboration 23 November 2015

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Procedure

Policy Code: HR1577

Purpose

  • To create employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are aligned with the teaching, learning and research activities of the University.
  • To ensure that individuals with relevant experience and knowledge are selected to develop, deliver and/or implement policies, projects, courses/programs and/or services relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.
  • To promote professional and career development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.
  • To promote the retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.

Scope

This Procedure applies to the recruitment and merit selection, induction, professional development, career planning and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and employees.

This Procedure supplements the University’s existing Recruitment and Merit Selection Policy and Procedure, Induction Policy and Procedure, Performance Review and Development Program Policy and Procedure, and Professional Development Policy.

Definitions

Aboriginal People: Persons of Aboriginal descent, who identify themselves as Aboriginal people and are accepted as Aboriginal people by their community.
Cultural Awareness Training: Training to promote employees’ understanding of the differences between themselves and employees from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and backgrounds.
Delegated Officer: An employee of the University who is responsible for approving actions at stages of the recruitment and merit selection process.  The person delegated will depend upon the type of position being filled.  (Refer to Delegations – Contract, Financial, Staffing and Tender Policy as Authorised by the Council of the University.)
Identified Position: An applicant has to be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person in order to be eligible for applying for or being the incumbent of the position.
Induction: Orientation program that provides specific employment related information for new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.
Key Selection Criteria: The skills, knowledge and experience required to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position.
Media: Means of communication that widely reach people, in particular, radio, newspapers and magazines, and other mean relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Mentoring: A developmental partnership through which a senior staff member of the University shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of another employee.
Merit Selection: Selection based on merit is where the best possible match is made between qualifications, knowledge, skills, abilities and relevant experience of the applicants, and the selection criteria in the position description.  When assessing applicants, only selection criteria are taken into account, i.e. unlawful discrimination based on other applicant characteristics must not occur. 
Non-identified Positions: Positions for which targeted strategies are implemented in order to attract and employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Professional Development Plan: The Professional Development Plan documents the goals, strategies and resources for training and development during the performance management cycle.
Referees: Professional people or Community Elders who can provide feedback about an applicant.
Supervisor: A staff member who has designated responsibility for managing and overseeing the work and development of other staff.
Sourcing Channels: Different media and techniques to attract applicants to the University.
Torres Strait Islander People: Persons of Torres Strait Islander descent, who identify themselves as Torres Strait Islander people and are accepted as Torres Strait Islander people by their community.
VCAT Exemption: Exemption from the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

Actions

Allocation Of Targets

  • The Vice-Chancellor will determine an overall target biennially for the University.
  • Each Portfolio will thereafter be allocated a target normally based on the Portfolio’s ongoing and fixed-term staff complement.
  • Pro Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Vice Presidents must forward each Portfolio’s target allocation and distribution to the Director, Human Resources at the start of a biennial period.

Determine Identified Positions

  • The overwhelming majority of positions in the Aboriginal Education Centre shall be identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander positions.
  • All other positions in which a significant part or all of the tasks and duties are associated with the development, delivery and/or implementation of policies, projects and/or courses/programs or services relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people should normally be identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander positions.

Victorian and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) Exemption

  • If required, Human Resources will seek exemption on behalf of the University.

Recruiting

Position Descriptions

Position Descriptions must accurately reflect the key responsibilities (duties) and intended outcomes of the Identified and Non-identified Positions. 

Key Selection Criteria

All Identified and Non-identified Positions must include the following Key Selection Criteria:

  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and cultures; and
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The above Key Selection Criteria are designed to assess an applicant’s capacity to perform the duties and responsibilities of the Identified and Non-identified Position as it relates to the delivery of service to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Depending on the duties and responsibilities of Identified and Non-identified Positions, specific cultural knowledge and/or skills may also be required and these should be reflected in the Key Selection Criteria of the positions.

  • For example, a research position may require interaction with a specific Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community or a lecturing position may require a particular language skill.

 

Advertising

Identified positions will normally be advertised as either:

  • In accordance with its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy, the University has designated this position as an Identified Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Position. Only Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander people are eligible to apply; or
  • In accordance with its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy, the University has designated this position as an Identified Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island Position and has VCAT approval to advertise this position to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people only. The VCAT approval number will be included in all advertising.

For Non-identified positions the following wording can be used:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are strongly encouraged to apply.
Sourcing Channels

Employment opportunities will actively be promoted through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups within the regions the University operates.

In addition to conventional media, vacancies should be advertised in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communication and media channels, e.g.:

  • Newspapers such as Koori Mail and National Indigenous Times;  and
  • e-mail networks, e.g. The Indigenous Gathering Place.

Merit Selection

Merit Selection Panel Composition

At least one member of Merit Selection Panels for Identified and Non-identified Positions must be an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. This is in order to provide advice to the panel on the applicants' ability to meet the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relevant selection criteria and to provide a degree of cultural ease for applicants.

Selection panels, where appropriate, should consider including a member from the Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. The Chair of Panel should consult with the Director, Human Resources (or nominee) regarding the composition of merit selection panels.

Referees

At least one reference must be obtained from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander referee for the preferred applicant/s, with specific comment sought on his/her ability to meet the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relevant selection criteria.

Induction

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander appointees will be offered an induction to assist them in their transition into the University community by providing information on employment matters (e.g. entitlements as per the Union Collective Agreement 2010 – 2012 and the Victorian TAFE Teaching Staff Multi-Business Agreement 2009), professional development, support network and mentoring program.

Professional Development

In consultation with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander employee, a supervisor will develop and implement a Professional Development Plan incorporating career planning for the employee which will be reviewed on an annual basis as part of the Performance Review and Development Program.

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees will be provided with information on and access to relevant training and professional development opportunities.

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees will receive support to participate in activities of cultural or ceremonial nature.

Retention

Support Network

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network will be formed.

The aim of this Network will be to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in their transition into the University community, work, career and employment generally.

The Network will be promoted through Human Resources and meet at least quarterly.

Mentoring

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees will be offered the opportunity of mentoring by a senior member of staff outside of their immediate work area which will be co-ordinated through Human Resources.

Mentoring opportunities will also be sought with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in similar positions at other universities and/or organisations.

All internal mentors will be required to attend Cultural Awareness Training specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Cultural Awareness Training

All supervisors with responsibility for managing and supervising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees will be required to attend Cultural Awareness Training specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Exit Interviews

Exit interviews will be conducted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and the data will be analysed in order to develop and implement strategies to address problems experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and to increase retention rates.

Responsibilities

This Procedure will be approved by the University Council.

The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of the Procedure.

The Director, Human Resources is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Procedure.

Forms/Record Keeping

Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
VCAT Exemption Human Resources Director, Human Resources At least 12 months.
Selection Panel Reports Human Resources Director, Human Resources At least 12 months.
Referee Checks Human Resources Director, Human Resources At least 12 months.
Professional Development Plan

School / Directorate

Final to Human Resources

Supervisor

Final Copy - Director, Human Resources

At least 2 years.

Implementation

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice under ‘FedNews’ on the University website and through the University Policy - ‘Recently Approved Documents’ webpage to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure;
  2. inclusion on the University's online Policy Library;
  3. memorandum from Director, Human Resources to Senior Management of University, and/or
  4. incorporation into Recruitment and Merit Selection Policy and Procedure Training conducted by Human Resources.