There has been a lot of emphasis lately on promoting Employment and Training Programs as part of right to negotiate agreements. For several decades there have been ineffective mining agreements, with parties agreeing to try to “maximise employment” but with little or no steps on how to achieve that.
In our experience, successful Employment and Training Programs for large projects require:
- Targets – they should be set at a level that can be reached so long as the items below are carried out. They should not be too easy to achieve, but require all parties to work constructively to reach them. Once reached, they can be raised;
- Commitment – this should include a binding agreement for the life of the project so the parties can’t walk away if reaching targets is not easily achieved;
- Communication and persistence; and
In order to make sure that there is good communication and persistence of effort to implement an Employment and Training Program, regular face to face meetings are required. There should be a commitment to keep trying even if the first efforts don’t succeed. A formal liaison committee is often a good body to address these issues. Regular meetings can confirm what is working and acknowledge and address what is not working. There should be regular detailed reports on progress, including whether interim targets are being met or not.
Resources for training to get people work ready for the range of jobs within a project are required, together with a guarantee of a real job when training is completed successfully.
A dedicated employment and training officer with authority to implement the Program, and with clear key performance indicators, is often a key person. They need authority to deal with senior project personnel. There are often important negotiations as part of the RTN process about who employs the officer, and to whom they are answerable: the company, the TOs or a combination of the two?
Good communications within the company carrying out the project and within the relevant Aboriginal community about how the Employment and Training Program works, are then needed to encourage all relevant people to support the program.