An underpinning aim of Scentre Group’s recruitment strategy is the desire that all our employees feel comfortable enough to bring their whole self to work. Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are the key words here and in 2019, we were proud to launch two new D&I initiatives which will help us continue to better reflect the communities we serve.
“Scentre Group’s investment in these programs creates tangible social change in Australia. We acknowledge Scentre Group is contributing to towards reconciliation and faster resettlement with a shared purpose of greater self-determination for all Australians.”
Michael Combs, Founder and CEO of CareerTrackers and Founder of CareerSeekers
CareerTrackers and CareerSeekers are sister social enterprises that aim to improve opportunities for Indigenous Australians and refugees and asylum seekers.
Established in 2009, CareerTrackers supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students by linking them with high-quality employers for paid, multi-year internships. Each year the student completes a 12-week internship, matched to their career aspirations, with a partner organisation.
In October 2019, Scentre Group signed up to pilot the program and Alison Pearson, Scentre Group’s Head of Talent, says CareerTrackers vision for reconciliation is well aligned to Scentre Group’s stated purpose of creating extraordinary places, connecting and enriching communities.
“Our objective, as outlined in our Reconciliation Action Plan, is to increase the number of full-time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders we employ by three to six new employees annually,” she says.
“CareerTrackers demonstrates some compelling statistics about the employment success of their alumni so we jumped at the opportunity to partner with them. The program promises to become a prime channel to help us achieve our D&I hiring objectives.”
The statistics are indeed compelling. While only 47% of Indigenous Australian university students make it to graduation, if they complete the CareerTrackers program this increases to 89%. The program is also growing at speed from 486 CareerTrackers alumni in 2018 to 1,073 predicted for 2020 and, the most persuasive statistic of all, 100% of CareerTrackers alumni are currently employed as professionals.
Founder and CEO of CareerTrackers and Founder of CareerSeekers, Michael Combs says, “Through our partnership with Scentre Group, students gain insight into corporate Australia which applies to their studies. Their internship makes them more motivated and gives a greater perspective of their industry and studies.”
Matthew Fisk leads Scentre Group’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group and says he is very proud of the work the company is doing to attract and retain Indigenous Australian employees.
“We are 100% committed to supporting First Nations Australians and are very much looking forward to seeing our three CareerTrackers students flourish in their internships in 2020 and beyond. We plan to review the pilot next year with a view to expanding our annual student intake, as well as paving the way to converting our interns to full-time employees once they graduate,” he says.
“CareerTrackers had immediate appeal because we wanted to create genuine career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through our Reconciliation Action Plan.” Matthew Fisk, Chairman, Scentre Group’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group
According to Alison, it was through Scentre Group’s connection to CareerTrackers that the company became aware of CareerSeekers. Founded in 2015, CareerSeekers works with leading employers to create professional internship opportunities for refugees and people seeking asylum. The aim is to smooth their settlement into Australia, give them greater self-determination and build their professional networks.
Charbel Kaiber, a refugee from Syria who joined the Westfield Parramatta team in NSW.
“We were immediately excited by this program which sees mid-career professionals, who have tertiary qualifications and professional experience, placed with an employer for 12-weeks of paid work in their field of expertise,” continues Alison.
“It’s called the New Australian Internship Program and in October 2019, we welcomed two CareerSeekers to our Living Centre teams, including Charbel Kaiber, a refugee from Syria who joined our Westfield Parramatta team in NSW.”
Alison says that although it has only been a few months, it has been a wonderful experience so far. “Charbel holds a Bachelor of French Literature and has considerable work experience in customer service roles. His work ethic is outstanding,” she says.
Combs concludes “Scentre Group’s investment in these programs creates tangible social change in Australia. We acknowledge Scentre Group is contributing to towards reconciliation and faster resettlement with a shared purpose of greater self-determination for all Australians.”