Deadly Yakka: new program aims to close the unemployment gap for indegenous job seekers in Gosnells

Caption: James Kearing at the Deadly Yakka launch Tuesday March 14
Caption: James Kearing at the Deadly Yakka launch Tuesday March 14

A NEW program targeting indigenous job seekers has launched to tackle Gosnells’ low levels of indigenous employment.

The Deadly Yakka initiative, run by Employment Services Group in partnership with employment firm MatchWorks, assists indigenous job seekers in finding sustainable employment.

The program has already been successful in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

MatchWorks executive director Renae Lowry said the program aids indigenous people having trouble finding work.

“The purpose of Deadly Yakka is to bring communities together and give indigenous people a way to come back into the network of support and then make the transition into stable, ongoing employment,” she said.

Ms Lowry said MatchWorks chose Gosnells due to its high rates of indigenous unemployment.

“The reason Gosnells was picked as the geography was because it had a high portion of indigenous in the population not on the pay flow.”

“We wouldn’t look at it and go, ‘you know, as many non-indigenous people as indigenous people are getting work here’.

“It’s about closing the gap.”

Statistics from the 2011 Census revealed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander unemployment within Gosnells was at 19 per cent.

The 2011 census also marked Gosnells’ unemployment rate at 5.4 per cent and just over 5.2 per cent of all unemployed people were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

As of November 2016, Gosnells’ unemployment had risen to 7.33 per cent.

The course offers tips for job hunting, such as interview preparation and online applications and covers workplace skills like dealing with conflict and maintaining effective relationships in the workforce.

Ms Lowry said Deadly Yakka’s strong sense of community and identity helped the participants.

“We find with indigenous jobseekers where they’ve been disengaged in their community, they don’t really understand why they’re dropping out of work or unable to sustain employment when they do find it.”

“Often when they come through Deadly Yakka, it comes back, that sense of community and sense of purpose that really facilitates that long, enduring employment.”