New Role To Promote Indigenous Job Opportunities

Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Sue Lovett hopes that her new role will make everyone at Portland District Health feel comfortable around Indigenous people and that Indigenous people will feel comfortable using the health service.

As PDH's first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce officer, Ms Lovett also hopes to encourage more Indigenous people to work in the health field.

PDH has set a target of having Indigenous people making up at least 1 per cent of its workforce.

Ms Lovett is one of five Aboriginal worker employed by PDH but she hopes new apprenticeships and traineeships and school-based apprenticeships will create employment opportunities at PDH for Indigenous people.

There are so many opportunities at a hospital; it's not just doctors and nurses, she said.

There are many strategies and pathways that can help Aboriginal people into rewarding careers.

While a new role for PDH, it also represents a first for Ms Lovett, a local Gunditjmara woman. I have always worked in Aboriginal organisations and this is my first job in a mainstream organisation,” she said. It's good to have this new opportunity and challenge.

Ms Lovett has a background of working with families and children in the justice field in Geelong and for the past two years has worked locally with the Windamara Aboriginal Corporation.

There are a lot of Aboriginal people in this area so it's important that we can raise the cultural awareness of PDH staff. It will be beneficial to have cultural training on a local level delivered by a local person, she said.

Ms Lovett added that she hoped to promote an environment where all Indigenous people could feel comfortable.

We want PDH staff to be culturally aware and to feel comfortable around Aboriginal people, and likewise we want to create a comfortable environment for Aboriginal people who need to use the health service,she said.

PDH CEO Chris Giles said the position was supported by funding from the Department of Health and was part of a strategy to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who pursue health careers.

We're encouraging local Aboriginal people to pick up careers in health, Ms Giles said. This position is about helping them to navigate the education system and work with us to gain suitable qualifications.

Ms Giles said making sure PDH was a culturally safe place to work was an important part of that process.

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