AU$2.5 Million to Support First Nations’ Education-to-employment Pathways to in-demand Jobs

February 2, 2022 at 5:00 PM Eastern

Education-to-employment provider Generation Australia will embark on a three-year partnership with Bank of America to support First Nations Australians into in-demand roles as a result of a 2.5 million Australian dollar ($1.8 million) funding commitment from the bank.

Generation Australia builds demand-led education-to-employment programs to prepare, place and support motivated workers who have traditionally faced barriers to employment into growing roles and industries.

This grant is part of Bank of America’s $1.25 billion, five-year global commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity for historically marginalised communities, including initiatives focused on health, jobs and reskilling, affordable housing, small business, and investments to address racial justice, advocacy and equality.

Between 2008 and 2018-19, the national First Nations employment rate was 49%, compared to that of non-First Nations Australians at 75%1. However, the low number of employed First Nations people in Australia is only part of the story, according to Generation Australia CEO Malcolm Kinns.

“First Nations Australians face significantly more barriers to access meaningful employment than the average Australian, and lack of cultural understanding or unsupportive work environments create further challenges in employment.

“With this funding and partnership with the Bank of America, we will work with First Nations people to ensure a community-led and participatory approach. We will further enhance and extend our education-to-employment programs to be relevant, appropriate, inclusive and accessible; to support more First Nations Australians into in-demand, career-launching jobs,” says Malcolm Kinns, Chief Executive Officer, Generation Australia.

“We are actively working to bring more First Nations’ perspectives into our organisation, to work alongside our First Nations Advisory Board and team members. New employees, partners and engagement with community will inform the design and delivery of our programs, as well as how we support individuals and employers,” says Kinns.

In addition to the Australian partnership, the Bank of America is also supporting Generation globally in Italy, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

“Australia’s workforce of the future will be an increasingly diverse one and it is crucial that we help to provide under-represented young adults with the skills needed to connect to in-demand careers. It's one way we're working to advance racial equality and economic opportunity in communities in Australia, and globally,” said Joseph Fayyad, Australia CEO and country executive, Bank of America.

Brenz Saunders, board member at Tauondi Aboriginal College, has worked with Generation Australia to launch a junior web developer program to help support more First Nations people into the IT sector.

“As an example, First Nations representation in the IT sector in South Australia is effectively zero per cent. The Tauondi Aboriginal College program with Generation Australia launched in 2021 and is creating pathways for First Nations people into IT jobs,’’ says Saunders, who is also a member of Generation Australia’s First Nations Advisory Board.

“However, increasing job opportunities for First Nations Australians doesn't end with employment, it takes ongoing commitment to improving cultural understanding and accessibility to create equity, which is exactly how this funding from Bank of America will be used. Generation will be able to continue to scale-up their work, to remove barriers and support more First Nations Australians into in-demand jobs in growing sectors,” concludes Saunders.

Generation Australia

Established in 2019, Generation Australia, part of the Generation program, is an independent non-profit organisation addressing the challenge of unemployment among those who are skilled and motivated to work. The organisation’s training and employment program works closely with industry to prepare, place and support those overlooked by traditional hiring practices. Founded in 2015, more than 43,000 individuals globally have graduated from Generation programs, with 83 per cent securing employment within three months. The program is available in 14 countries, including Australia.

Bank of America

At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

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Reporters May Contact

Ryan Marnell, The IMPACT Agency (Generation Australia)
Phone: +61.4.3461.6894

Lucia McCabe, The IMPACT Agency (Generation Australia)
Phone: +61.4.5070.6033

Tracy Tong, Bank of America
Phone: +61.2.9225.6627


1Closing the Gap Report, 2020

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