| 29 May 2023

Introducing the Indigenous engineering group for NSW and ACT

A group of engineers from across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory have come together to ‘be a voice of generations’ and form the NSW and ACT Indigenous Engineering Group.

The group currently has nine members but are looking for other Indigenous engineers to assist in supporting the chapter going forward. If you are interested, email [email protected]

Current members of the group are:

  • Jason Gordon, NSW Dept of Environment & Planning
  • Mark Henaway, Aurecon
  • Letitia Holmes, BlueScope Steel
  • Aaron Delaney, Valiant Civil
  • Kassandra Dallas, Sydney Airport
  • Ben Lange, Ausgrid
  • Juan Bradbery, Origin Energy
  • Clayton McDowell, University of Wollongong
  • Jackson Hough, AMP Control Group

The group will aim to promote the benefits of walking together, work on tools to attract and retain First Nations staff, promote the profession to first nations peoples and promote good practice.

Over the coming months the group will decide on their priorities going forward, though their work will be focused on improving engineering employment for all First Nations engineers.

Some of the activities the group will look at are:

Promote walking together

  • How to express individual thoughts on the Voice
  • Help the engineering profession better understand the aspirations of First Nations people
  • Promote the benefits of senior staff championing change and establishing plans which they own and have responsibility to implement and report on
  • Advocate for the benefits of developing a RAP in the diversity journey

Attracting and retaining First Nations staff

  • Establish a cultural competency framework
  • Promote the use of First Nations talent pool and prioritise identifying existing staff and assist career placements
  • First Nations senior executives – specific plan to develop and keep existing executives. As well as develop a program to increase numbers, acting opportunities, direct placements (for example, each First Nations senior staff member has a development plan signed/endorsed)
  • Entry talent programs, apprenticeships and para-professionals – advocate for setting a higher percentage of First Nations representation
  • Advocate for the creation of ‘old style’ cadetship programs aimed at STEM for First Nations people (plus women and other diverse groups) with university paid for and guaranteed employment.

Promoting engineering to First Nations peoples

  • Promote and sharing First Nations engineering feats
  • Highlighting first nations engineers
  • Promote engineering to First Nations people as a career

Promote good practice

  • Promote establishing First Nations employment targets and confirm targets are across all grades and not overall numbers
  • Plans for position interviews to call out unconscious bias
  • How to establish First Nations specialist recruitment panel to undertake mainstream recruitment in targeted roles and locations at no additional cost to business areas
  • Ensure procurement targets are embedded for First Nations businesses