atWork Australia Indigenous Connections

Bringing together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, businesses and the community to educate, collaborate and thrive through employment

We support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to build better lives through sustainable work, by providing holistic and practical support for individuals to prosper and grow. As work makes a difference in a person’s life, it also creates a better life for families and helps build the strength of their communities.

About Indigenous Connections

atWork Australia Indigenous Connections has been designed to focus on four key areas:

Pre-employment support for clients, including expectations of employment and confidence building

Coaching employers and other stakeholders on working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; connecting different community organisations, as well as the individual Indigenous communities to educate one another on expectations and cultural awareness

Ongoing employer engagement and support

Once our clients start working they continue to be in contact with our Indigenous Connections team through Post Placement Support

Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients find meaningful employment

Through our Job Seeker Wellbeing Index, atWork Australia understand that factors relating to employment have the least strong relationship with the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, instead wellbeing is more strongly driven by factors relating to community connection, emotional wellness and resilience, and access to other support services. That’s why our Indigenous Connections program is designed to ensure practical and holistic support for our clients.

Our goal is to find meaningful employment opportunities for our clients. However, it is important for us to work with our clients to ensure the foundations for achieving success are set before considering taking that step.

We offer our clients face-to-face support along with bespoke programs, such as Positivum and Jobs Now, that motivate and empower our clients to become job ready.

We know that circumstances and barriers may change or be an influence on someone’s life, that’s why we offer ongoing support well after obtaining employment. We maintain the flexibility to change support as needed, for individuals to thrive.

How atWork Australia can help your organisation

We are committed to increasing Indigenous employment rates and we work with many culturally aware employers to develop tailored pre-employment assessment and training programs for Indigenous candidates.

This customised approach means the candidates placed into employment with your organisation have the right combination of skills and attitudes. We offer employers:

  • Pre-employment education for clients on expectations of employment and confidence building job preparation programs
  • Coaching employers and other stakeholders on working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; connecting different community organisations, as well as the individual Indigenous communities to educate one another on expectations and cultural awareness
  • Ongoing employer engagement and support
  • Once our clients start working they are mentored by our Indigenous Connections team
  • End-to-end recruitment services at no cost to you
  • Job-specific training packages to up skill candidates so they meet your workforce needs
  • Support to candidates to be work-ready (such as helping candidates with driver’s licenses, work-related tickets and certificates, and police checks)
  • Wage subsidies, where relevant

What employers can expect

We educate the community and employers on the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island clients, as well as provide additional and ongoing support to the employer and client once the client commences work.

atWork Australia was the first employment services provider to deliver Vocational Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) services in Western Australia. This program provided pre-employment and work readiness training, support and guaranteed employment for Indigenous candidates.

In 2019, atWork Australia was one of a handful of organisations consulted for an OECD report into Indigenous employment best-practice. The report highlighted the success of the model we adopted, and the findings have implications for policy and practice around the world.

While we are not an Indigenous-owned organisation and can no longer deliver VTEC, the success of this employer-driven model in achieving sustainable employment led to the creation of atWork Australia’s Indigenous Employment Services (IES) team in 2019.

And, over the past two years of supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, we saw the opportunity and need to create a new approach to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in their employment journey.

In November 2021, this program was reviewed and atWork Australia officially launched the Indigenous Connections team to deliver holistic and practical support for individuals to prosper and grow through education, support and community connections.

Our VTEC services and IES team members have received national awards and external accolades for their service provision and collaborations and we’re excited to continue to embrace diversity and connecting people and community together.

Job Seeker Wellbeing Index

In 2018, the employment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was less than 50, remaining relatively unchanged since the decade prior. This evidence supports the need for a new approach to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in their employment journey.

The atWork Australia 2021 Job Seeker Wellbeing Index identified the following five needs as having the strongest relationship with wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers:

  • Access to the employment services needed
  • Adaptability
  • Problem solving
  • Affordable housing
  • Job opportunities in the community

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers, access to the right employment services and affordable housing have a much stronger association with wellbeing as compared to other job seeker groups, indicating that when these needs are satisfied, wellbeing for these job seekers will likely improve.

atWork Australia job seeker wins NESA 2021 Achiever of the Year

Every year, the National Employment Services Association (NESA) brings employment services providers, employers, and allied services together to honour and acknowledge exceptional achievements in the realm of employment.

Jascinta travelled to Canberra to attend this year’s Gala Awards ceremony along with her employer Sodexo, and several atWork Australia staff members.

During her time looking for work, Jascinta faced many barriers and experienced several false starts but she continued to work closely with atWork Australia’s Indigenous Employment Services (IES) team. They guided and supported her through the job seeking process and Jascinta eventually landed her current role as a full time FIFO Room Service Attendant for Sodexo in August 2019.

Sodexo were one of the three finalists in the NESA Champion Employer of the Year Award.

atWork Australia nominated Jascinta for the award with Group Executive Michael Kolomyjec saying we are ‘genuinely so proud’ of her achievements.

‘Her journey to employment was challenging following her release from incarceration, however she showed real perseverance and resilience to achieve her goal of full-time employment. It has been a pleasure to watch her grow in confidence, knowing she is making a difference to her life as well as her family and community.’

Read Jacinta’s full story here.

Employers we work with to Close the Gap

Partnering with employers and industry is one way we can work together to educate and connect the community to build a better future for Indigenous Australians.

atWork Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land upon which we live and work, and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging.


Our artwork was created by local Indigenous graphic designer, Ms Justine Kinney. The artwork represents the different pathways Indigenous Australians take on their journey towards fulfilled lives through health and employment. These pathways and the support they receive wrap around the individual, taking into account their culture, their family and their community