ANU Indigenous Trainee & Apprenticeship Network during COVID

1 September 2020

There is no doubt that the year 2020 has been tough. What about if you were young, had moved away from family for a job, started in a new city, and didn't know anybody before being told you were going to have to start working from home? For some of our Indigenous trainees starting out at the beginning of this year, that was the situation they found themselves in.

The ANU Indigenous Traineeship/Apprenticeship Program has been in operation since 2011. In this time, 42 trainees have been hosted across ANU. Trainees are supported by the Australian Training Company (ATC) in completing their Certificate III, Certificate IV or apprenticeship. Our trainees have achieved a 76% completion rate and many have gone on to further employment at ANU after gaining their qualification, including a number who are now in supervisory positions, and supervising some of our current Indigenous trainees.

In 2020, we have a cohort of 13 trainees and 1 apprentice who work in different teams across ANU. At the start of this year, the ANU Indigenous Trainee and Apprentice Network was established to further support the future development and careers of Indigenous trainees, contributing to the University's strategic objective of increasing the recruitment and success of Indigenous staff. 

Through a collaborative effort between the trainees themselves, their supervisors, previous trainees, the Tjabal Centre, and the Human Resources Division, we have strengthened the ANU Indigenous Trainee and Apprentice Network with several initiatives:

At the start of COVID lockdown in March 2020, we showed our support by sending a care package to each trainee.

We established an MS Teams site for communication, with a regular weekly virtual catch ups via Teams. One of the trainees, Makayla Holz, developed a calendar of events for the remainder of 2020. Events include support sessions from previous trainees, an information session with the Tjabal Centre, and a networking event with DVC Professor Ian Anderson.

In addition, we have held two mentoring workshops, one for trainees and one for supervisors, with an external facilitator, Dave Widders.  Dave is well known to ANU as he has been running the Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training for ANU staff for many years and he was delighted to be involved in this initiative. The trainees have also been offered additional mentoring sessions with Dave, and a ‘Meet & Greet’ was held with him in July on campus. Excitingly, the College of Business and Economics (CBE) has also offered to extend their ‘Employability Program’ and Career Services to the trainees to help with further career development and support with practical skills such as resume writing, and job searching.

Latoya Monaghan, having started her traineeship at the start of COVID lockdown, shared this reflection: “How I feel about the indigenous network? I feel very supported, meeting other trainees as well and talking to the others trainees about their experience doing the traineeship at the ANU. I feel you guys are very caring and supportive as well. Also doing catch ups every Wednesday is great, it gives us time to catch up with everyone and meet other trainees.”