Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 398f. Updated Friday, 28 February 2014

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Education key to Indigenous jobs

The Australian Institutes of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and Family Studies (AIFS) have published a new paper on education and employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse.

The Clearinghouse is a website funded jointly by all Australian governments to provide an online source of information on what works to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

Education and training levels among Indigenous Australians was improving, said the paper Improving labour market outcomes through education and training.

The proportion of Indigenous people who completed Year 12 or above rose from 20.2 per cent to 24.9 per cent between 2006 and 2011, while apparent retention rates for Indigenous students from Years 7/8 to Year 12 rose from 38 per cent to 51 per cent between 2002 and 2012.

Closing the Gap paper

But substantial gaps remain between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians - 44 per cent of the Indigenous population was employed in 2011 compared with 72 per cent of the non-Indigenous population, according to the paper.

The low levels of education is a key factor in the poor employment rate of Indigenous Australians, with more than 80 per cent of the difference in employment rates attributed to differences in education.

It said increased levels of education would lead to a big improvement in employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

The paper outlines the evidence from Australia and overseas on what works to improve outcomes.

It includes strong leadership by school principals to raise the quality of teaching and student learning, social workers and parents working together to improve school attendance, and parental engagement in the decisions that affect their children's participation in schools.

The paper said it also helps to use mentors early in apprenticeships and traineeships to improve retention rates, and among employers, a commitment by managers and colleagues to engage Indigenous Australians in work and training makes a difference.

A second Clearinghouse paper, Increasing employment rates for Indigenous people with a disability, identifies the principles that underpin the most successful employment programs for those with a disability.

Find the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse at this PS News link.

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