FSN manager Neil Morton with Indigenous trainee Patricia Roberts and NRSDC CEO Tony Davies.
FSN manager Neil Morton with Indigenous trainee Patricia Roberts and NRSDC CEO Tony Davies.

First indigenous trainee appointed

FAMILY Support Network Inc. Lismore has appointed its first indigenous trainee, Patricia Roberts.

Ms Roberts has been employed under the Aboriginal Employment Strategy which is auspiced locally by the Northern Rivers Social Development Council.

Network manager Neil Moreton said while Patricia was not the organisation's first Indigenous employee, she was the first Indigenous trainee to come on board.

"We are very proud to be associated with such a valuable initiative offering career opportunities to local Indigenous people in the community services sector," Mr Moreton said.

“Family Support Network recognises the cultural requirements around servicing the needs of the Aboriginal community and aims to put in place culturally appropriate supports aimed at making indigenous clients feel comfortable when accessing our services."

Ms Roberts said was happy she could take on the traineeship, which includes studying Certificate 3 in Community Services at TAFE.

"I've been doing home visits with staff and learning about the programs offered here," she said.

"I really enjoy working with families , especially in the PPP parenting programs which help support young mums. I really hope what I learn during my traineeship will enable me to help Indigenous people more."

Mr Morton said the Indigenous traineeship was one of a number of initiatives the organisation has undertaken recently and follows from  their Memorandum of Understanding with the Northern United Rugby League Club.

In April, the Family Support Network and the Dirawongs signed what could possibly be the first memorandum of understanding signed between a Family/Children’s service and an Indigenous football club in Australia.

The Aboriginal Employment Strategy is an initiative of the Northern Rivers Social Development Council and aims to increase the numbers of qualified Aboriginal workers in the community services industry.

"We hope to develop a sustainable and long term sustainable employment strategy by working with other NGOs and encouraging them to employ more Aboriginal staff," Social Development Council chief executive Tony Davies said.

"Part of this will involve developing and testing a model for pre-vocational training and careers guidance for Aboriginal entry-level workers in the community services industry. This will also include developing school-based traineeships and new opportunities for TAFE students."