Engineering Employment Pathways In Remote Communities And The (false) Hope Of Collaborative Service Provision

John Guenther, Eva McRae-Williams, Claire Kilgariff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedings


Over the last decade, very remote Northern Territory has seen significant changes in the participation, retention and completion rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in vocational qualifications and in higher levels of schooling. For example the number of Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islanders who report having a certificate qualification at the Census has increased fourfold in the period from 2001 to 2011. Those who report having completed Year 12 have also increased more than threefold. But numbers who report being employed have only increased 10 per cent and as a proportion of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander labour force, the percentage who report being employed has been more or less static at 29 per cent.

This is despite an increased focus on equipping people with the necessary foundation skills through targeted language literacy and numeracy and employability skills programs. These interventions have included the replacement of CDEP with the Remote Jobs for Communities Program (RJCP) together with other initiatives designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gain employment. One of the underpinning principles of the relatively new Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program is the perceived importance of collaborative effort between SEE and RJCP providers to serve the best interests of shared clients. Collaboration is supposed to reduce duplication of services, make service provision more efficient, and provide a seamless pathway for clients into employment. The theory is that pathways to employment can be engineered through service provider collaboration and that through collaboration, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers will be better able to navigate the system to achieve an employment outcome.

In this paper we present two case studies on programs which through service provider collaboration aimed to improve the capacity of disadvantaged Aboriginal jobseekers to engage with and secure employment. The case studies will give some examples of how collaboratively engineered pathways work or fail. The purpose of the paper is to test assumptions about the engineered pathways, the value of collaboration, and the ability of the current mix of initiatives to improve remote labour force participation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNARU Public Seminar
Place of PublicationDarwin/online
PublisherNorth Australia Research Unit
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventNARU Public Seminar - Brinkin, NT
Duration: 19 Nov 201419 Nov 2014


ConferenceNARU Public Seminar


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