A new partnership between WA recruitment company Skill Hire and the Wirrpanda Foundation in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Bunbury will be recognised on the national stage next month for its support of Aboriginal employment.
Skill Hire Kalgoorlie and Bunbury together are one of three finalists in the National Employment Services Association’s Innovation in Indigenous Employment award, with the winner to be announced on August 8.
The organisation was nominated for its support of the Wirrpanda Foundation in delivering the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Vocational Training and Employment Centres program regionally in WA.
The Wirrpanda Foundation expanded its operations to the Goldfields in May to deliver the program and is co-located with Skill Hire Kalgoorlie.
Skill Hire regional manager Paul Buswell said he hoped the recognition would raise more awareness for the Wirrpanda Foundation in Kalgoorlie and the value of the VTEC program.
“There needs to be more support in the Goldfields and the South West with indigenous employment, in terms of mentoring and post-placement support,” he said.
“The recognition is a great opportunity to promote what we do locally in WA on a national level. It is also great to promote the VTEC program, it is another good news story of how well that program works in regional WA.”
VTEC aims to connect indigenous jobseekers with guaranteed jobs and bring together the support services necessary to prepare jobseekers for long-term employment.
Wirrpanda Foundation marketing coordinator D’arne Corr said the recognition for the program and the growing organisation was an exciting step.
“It is obviously not the reason we do what we do, but by the same token it is nice to be recognised,” she said.
“We have recently expanded our VTEC program throughout the Goldfields, the Great Southern and the Wheatbelt and to have the program up and running and recognised is a really big step for us.
“(Kalgoorlie employment mentor) Caroline Walls has been a bit inundated with participants so far, but that has been really good. That is what we want for the program, for her to have a full case load of participants and help as many people as possible.”