Jason Gordon is a proud Barkindji man and Engineers Australia member for many years. As a part of NAIDOC Week, Jason discusses ways to diversify the profession. He also shares five tips for Aboriginal engineers to thrive in their work.
Jason has been a crucial part of bringing First Nations Engineers together to form the NSW and ACT Indigenous Engineering Group and actively supports the organisation wherever he can.
Jason says “this story is not only part of NAIDOC Week, but also as a call to action for other engineers to assist in supporting Indigenous engineers in their workplaces and the NSW and ACT chapter of the Indigenous Engineers Group.”
The group has provided some ideas to support First Nations engineers and encourage all who work within the profession to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways. To read more about these ideas read our introductory article.
Jason believes one of the challenges facing engineering is expanding the diversity of the profession.
“That’s one of my passions,” he says. “How do you get Aboriginal people, but more so Aboriginal women into the traditional STEM projects?”
Jason also wants it to be easier for all people from remote regions to find a place in engineering.
“You need to have incentives to break down those barriers,” he said.
“Traineeships, cadetships and wherever possible, those people being able to live in their community, work in their community.”
Jason knows that sharing First Nations engineering feats and highlighting it within profession is crucial. This comes alongside promoting engineering to First Nations people.
As part of the NSW and ACT Indigenous Engineering Group he is hoping to promote cultural safety in all spaces and the importance of developing cultural competency standards.
Having spent a long time in the engineering industry Jason has five tips he’d like to share for success as an Aboriginal person in the engineering field:
- Find a good mentor to help you plan your career and find a good advocate to give you a hand up (not a handout).
- Your career will rely on some luck and a lot of hard work.
- Find your voice and speak up, you have a lot to say and people have a lot to learn from our 60,000+ year culture.
- Racism still exists, people have just got better at hiding it. Find an employer who genuinely walks the talk – they are out there!
- If you’ve got passion and you want to make a difference, nothing is better than engineering, it is truly Deadly!
The NSW and ACT Indigenous Engineering Group is looking for other Indigenous engineers to assist in supporting the chapter going forward. If you are interested, email [email protected]