Abstract: This paper draws on the lessons learned from an evaluation of a program designed to support Indigenous people into employment. The program (TrainingPlus), managed by the Desert Peoples Centre (DPC) in Alice Springs, uses vocational training offered by the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) as a vehicle for achieving employment outcomes. What makes this program different from a plethora of others trying to do the same is the intentional use of a case management approach where Indigenous cultural brokers support learners through a transition in their identity from being ‘unemployable’ through to becoming ‘employable’. While the evaluation highlighted a number successes associated with the TrainingPlus approach, it also highlighted a number of tensions that arise for DPC as it attempts to straddle the space between mainstream and Indigenous cultural contexts. The paper problematises the issue of training for employment outcomes in Indigenous contexts. The evaluation found that VET as a tool designed for employment outcomes (at least in this context) is not as effective as might be expected. That said, the findings suggest that the training space is a useful place for creating meaning and for engaging at the interface between the mainstream and Indigenous culture. Another finding from the evaluation reinforces the need for cross-cultural skills for trainers that go beyond basic cultural awareness programs. Ultimately, the evaluation concludes that the integrated case management process is effective compared to more conventional approaches to training in the employment services industry. However it is an approach that requires considerable resources to be sustainable. The policy and practice implications of these issues are discussed in the paper.
Guenther, John, Castle, Keith, Raymond, Nick, Berschl, Karin, 2011, Lessons from an evaluation of ‘TrainingPlus’: an attempt to bridge a cultural divide through a training and employment initiative, Conference Paper, viewed 02 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=4558.