Chandler Macleod makes a solid start on increasing Indigenous workforce

Recruitment and labour hire agency Chandler Macleod is committed to unleashing the potential in Australia’s Indigenous communities.

Regional Director of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, Janelle Casey said Chandler Macleod has recently partnered solely with Spartan First to complete the agency’s medicals.

“Part of our RAP [Reconciliation Action Plan] commitments was to spend more with Indigenous-owned businesses,” Ms Casey said.

“We’re aiming to do 2000 medicals with [Spartan First] this year … Outside of that, we do work closely with all of the foundations, [including] Wirrpanda and Matera.”

Working with most of the main mining companies across WA, SA and the Territory, Chandler Macleod aims to work with clients to create solutions.

This is evident with the completion of one of Chandler Macleod’s newest programs, Solid Start in Kalgoorlie.

Solid Start is a Chandler Macleod initiative where we create training opportunities for Indigenous people,” Ms Casey said.

Ms Casey said Chandler Macleod always tries to connect with the Traditional Owner groups of the areas the agency works in.

“We worked with the Traditional Owner group out there [the Tjiwarl people] … we got those people from in the community to being job ready, and then they transitioned into full-time employment.”

The new program is centred around the certainty of employment at the end.

“We don’t want to put people through these programs and then at the end there’s no job. There has to be a job, or it doesn’t work,” Ms Casey said.

Solid Start is designed to be tailored to each community environment, so there is no single concrete framework for the program.

“We have the expertise to access the right funding and the right training methodologies … we’re sort of the connector between the client and the Indigenous community [that our clients are operating in],” Ms Casey said.

“The candidates come to us, we just need to have the clients with the opportunities [for work].”

Some of Chandler Macleod’s biggest clients are Tier 1 mining companies, and the agency’s largest mining client currently has a 20 percent Indigenous workforce through Chandler Macleod.

Although the Solid Start program is new, Ms Casey said Chandler Macleod has sent many proposals out to their current clients.

“We’re just working to create opportunities wherever we can, and a big part of that is a commitment to increasing our spend with Indigenous businesses,” Ms Casey said.

Part of that is through running job fairs with Indigenous people at the Chandler Macleod headquarters in Perth.

Candidates learn what it looks like to work for a labour hire provider, learn about the clients Chandler Macleod work with as well as what opportunities are available to them.

“[We] identify what the candidates’ experience levels are, what they’re looking for, and then we find a client that’s suitable for them,” Ms Casey said.

“Where they need training and development, we might send them back to one of the foundations that offer those services … because we have the relationships, we can send them in the right direction.”

Once candidates are placed into work, Chandler Macleod continues to support them through a dedicated consultant who looks after each Indigenous placement.

This consultant mentors, coaches and visits candidates on-site.

“We don’t just pop them in a job and forget about them, there’s that post-placement support as well,” Ms Casey said.

Passion is one of the driving forces behind Chandler Macleod’s Indigenous initiatives.

“Indigenous [engagement] is just something that we’re passionate about as an organisation, so we want to help be part of the solution in closing the gap,” Ms Casey said.

The Regional Director said she is also personally passionate about working in the Indigenous space.

“I think it’s something that I’ve been aware of from a very young age, the gaps and all of the challenges Indigenous people are up against, and the disadvantage,” Ms Casey said.

“From quite young I’ve wanted to make a difference, so I have put myself in a position where I can make a difference now.”

In future, Ms Casey said Chandler Macleod is hoping to run Solid Start programs bi-monthly to train up about 10-15 Indigenous Australians per program in regional centres such as Port Hedland, Karratha and Newman.

Ms Casey said the agency is also looking into how else they can support communities through other pro bono work, such as assisting in screenings that are required when people are transition from prison back into work.

“I think it’s a case of continuing the conversation and connecting with the right people,” Ms Casey said.

“Between us we can all make a difference for sure.”

By Hannah Cross

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