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Decades-long friendship the catalyst for WorkPac’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

28/02/2017BY: Tracey Mesken

Australia’s largest privately owned recruitment company WorkPac, will launch the company’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in Perth, Wednesday the 1st of March, to complement its pioneering Indigenous Workforce division, JobTrail, in connecting Traditional Owners, business, and governments, in growing strong, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforces.

WorkPac Founder and Chairman, Phil Smart, was the driving force in creating the group’s own division dedicated to fostering equality in Australian workplaces – an undertaking that evolved through his 25-year friendship with Albert Bowie.

“The Bowie family, whose tribal heritage is from Badu and Erub in the Torres Strait and Palm Island, and Nancy Bowie (nee Go Sam) from the Jirrbal and Ngadgon-Jii tribes in Far North Queensland have a strong history of business ownership and are well-respected in the Indigenous community,” Mr. Smart said.

“Albert and his family have been active in the reconciliation movement, and have been pivotal in helping us to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation, create more culturally safe and tolerant workplaces, and give workers the opportunity to contribute to new projects, industries, services, products and ways of doing business, right across Australia,” he said.

WorkPac Group Managing Director, Mr. Praanesh Prasad said, “this is a long-term commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in communities where we operate”.

WorkPac and its JobTrail division will launch its RAP with a traditional Aboriginal dance performance, followed by a Welcome to Country, at Kuditj, 201 Beaufort Street Perth.

JobTrail Regional Manager Julian Genn, said the event was an important step in the group’s journey toward a brighter future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Attracting, recruiting, on boarding and supporting Indigenous workers is a dedicated function that many companies need external support to undertake successfully,” Mr. Genn said.

“But one of our keys to success is that we involve Traditional Owners and Elders in our projects and create genuine partnerships in regions to drive community engagement, enabling us to deliver program outcomes that are aligned with Indigenous employment targets.

“The Bowie family has helped us every step of the way in this journey so we could minimise the challenges, and connect with the community in a way that’s enabled JobTrail to provide ongoing holistic support,” he said.

To learn more about WorkPac's journey to reconciliation, click here.

Click here to watch our video on the story of WorkPac's Reconciliation Action Plan artwork.