Queensland women say Count Me In For Australia Pacific LNG Project partner Origin, ensuring the local Darling DownsSurat Basin workforce can seize opportunities that come with the economic and employment growth in the region is key to its social impacts management plan. But it was through extensive engagement with communities that the integrated energy company saw potential to make an even broader impact on the futures of local women. “Origin is committed to respecting the interests of the communities in which we operate by engaging with them, listening to them and understanding the impacts of our activities,” says Origin’s social program execution lead Kent Weastell. “After engaging with women living in Toowoomba, Dalby, Tara, Chinchilla, Miles and Roma, we identified that the barriers women faced were quite unique. “So it made sense to develop a program to address their specific needs. To help them overcome the barriers to finding suitable employment.” Women living in the Darling Downs-Surat Basin region are now the beneficiaries of the Count Me In project, delivered by Origin in partnership with women’s community organisation YWCA and workforce solutions provider AMMA Skills Connect. The aim is to assist local women to overcome barriers to employment and successfully secure work that meets their needs, but Weastell says the project’s mandate extends far beyond the region’s gas industry. “Now that we are in the peak construction period for the Australia Pacific LNG project, the region has seen an increase in the number of jobs available and the number of people relocating to the region,” he says. “We found that many local women don’t have the appropriate
level of training for the careers they want to pursue and that they require greater flexibility in work hours and conditions. “Working with local employers, the Count Me In program aims to match women with employers offering training and more flexible working arrangements.” Origin has provided YWCA with funding to employ a fulltime project officer to support the delivery of the project, while AMMA Skills Connect exposes employers to the benefits of workforce diversity. AMMA Skills Connect project manager Kim Hetherington says the Count Me In project is an example of how the positive impact of the $81 billion worth of resource activity currently underway in Queensland can reach far wider than the industry alone. “The Count Me In project is an extension of AMMA Skills Connect’s project mandate to assist in the upskilling and training of workers directly and indirectly employed in the resource industry,” says Hetherington. “While some local women aspire to gain the skills to transfer into a resource career, we understand that others wish to follow different employment pathways in their local community. “Through Count Me In, industry is able to more broadly assist community members to take advantage of the region’s growth and the broad range of employment opportunities that are created in the region.”
The Way Forward Guides: Strategies in gender diversity The organisational benefits of gender diverse workforces and inclusive cultures are widely acknowledged across the Australian and international business communities, but turning theory into practice can be challenging. Now, Australian resource employers have access to a suite of targeted online guides containing practical information, tools and case studies to assist in the implementation of multifaceted workforce diversity strategies. Developed by the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA) with support from the Australian Government, The Way Forward Guides are the first of their kind for the Australian resources, construction and allied industries and cover strategies including:
www.amma.org.au | Spring ‘13 – Summer ‘14 |
• Diversity as a Business Imperative – Leadership • Developing a Diversity Strategy and Program • Building an Employment Brand and Selling an Employee Value Proposition • Successful Attraction and Retention • Building an Engaged and Inclusive Workforce • Work-Life Strategies • Developing Women • Mentoring and e-Mentoring • Becoming a Preferred Employer of Women. The AWRA Way Forward Guides can be downloaded from www.amma.org.a/awra.