Indigenous Employment Initiative in the arts and cultural sectors fact sheet

Indigenous Employment Initiative in the arts and cultural sectors fact sheet (PDF 1.2 MB)

Australian Government funding to support Indigenous employment opportunities keeping Indigenous culture strong

The Indigenous arts and cultural sectors are creative industries building on uniquely Indigenous assets.

They enrich Australia's cultural life, make a valuable contribution to our national economy and help promote Australia to international audiences.

They also provide meaningful employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Through the Indigenous Employment Initiative (IEI) the Australian Government is investing around $20 million per annum in the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the arts and cultural sectors.

IEI employees are engaged in jobs in Indigenous arts, culture, language and broadcasting organisations in regional and remote areas, in roles such as community media officers, arts workers, mentors, gallery assistants, broadcasting technicians and language assistants.

These jobs provide important social and economic benefits to individuals and communities in a culturally meaningful way. For example, art centres, particularly in remote communities are often a major source of income. These jobs are directly helping to link Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture to the mainstream economy and society.

IEI is also having a positive impact on the lives of employees by engendering pride in themselves, their workplaces and their culture.

Image: Arts worker trainer, Theo Tremblay, holding up a print fresh off the press during a printing workshop with visiting school children. Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre, Qld. Source: Paul Jakubowski
Image: Arts worker trainer, Theo Tremblay, holding up a print fresh off the press during a printing workshop with visiting school children. Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre, Qld. Source: Paul Jakubowski

What the Indigenous Employment Initiative in the arts and cultural sectors is achieving

Closing the Gap

Strong cultural identity is fundamental to Indigenous health and wellbeing and to building healthy, safe and supportive communities. Australian Government initiatives that strengthen Indigenous culture are essential to Closing the Gap.

The arts and culture positions supported through the IEI directly contribute to the Closing the Gap target of halving the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2018.

Improving remote Indigenous participation and employment opportunities is part of a broader strategy to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have access to the same opportunities as all Australians.

[IEI] has enabled the Mowanjum Arts Centre to operate seven days per week and is providing opportunities for local community people to develop new skills and earn a living.
Jenny Wright, CEO, Mowanjum Arts, WA

Image: L-R Mal Langdon, Jonathan Daw, Jason Woods, Keith Williams, Japaljarri Woods. Production team at work building models for award-winning animated claymation project ‘Jack and Jones’ at PAW Media studios, Yuendumu, NT. Source: © PAW Media 
Image: L-R Mal Langdon, Jonathan Daw, Jason Woods, Keith Williams, Japaljarri Woods. Production team at work building models for award-winning animated claymation project 'Jack and Jones' at PAW Media studios, Yuendumu, NT. Source: © PAW Media

Supporting real jobs with real benefits and career development opportunities

Employees benefit from mainstream employment conditions such as proper wages and superannuation.

The IEI provides:

  • on-the-job training
  • funding for accredited training including TAFE
  • flexibility in employment, supporting both full-time and part-time positions.

The roll-out of the IEI jobs has been highly successful, with the number of arts and culture positions increasing from 82 positions funded in 2007–08 to over 600 positions in 2011–12.

The number of full-time positions is continuing to increase, with opportunities to transition from part-time to full-time employment in some organisations.

Image: Carrie Yarran, Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Development Officer and her daughter Talariah Boundary helping to restore one of the painted poles on the main street of Kellerberrin. Community Arts Network WA. Source Michelle White
Image: Carrie Yarran, Aboriginal Arts and Cultural Development Officer and her daughter Talariah Boundary helping to restore one of the painted poles on the main street of Kellerberrin. Community Arts Network WA. Source: Michelle White

Without the support of the training funds...the community would not have been able to provide the workshops which have had such a positive impact on the community and led to a new generation of artists emerging.
Fiona Pemberton, PaupiyalaTjarutja Aboriginal Corporation, WA.

In 2011–12, on-the-job and accredited training for IEI participants included:

Image containing the following words: hospitality, accounting, tourism, buisness governance, recording of stories, business and marketing, retail training, photography, media training, language workers mentored by linguists, web development, live sound and music production, canvas stretching, computer training, print making workshops, philanthropy workshops, musianship mentoring, master-apprentice language revival method, advertising, recording music, song writing workshops, woodworking, production staging and sound desk, work experience at tv and radio stations, curating, sales art management system, grant writing, video making and editing, transcribing and digitisation of language recordings, art history, visits to significant cultural institutions, minute taking, and art centre operations.

Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities across regional and remote Australia

At Waringarri, we are all part of the team and we work as a team. I have had to deal with some stuff but working at the Art Centre has helped me get through it.
Chris Griffith, IEI employee from Waringarri Arts, Kununurra

 

Image: Employees of the Arlpwe Artists Aboriginal Corporation assembling the new road sign. Ethan Wilson drilling holes in the sign with Jeremy Holmes assisting. Source: Judith Grieve
Image: Employees of the Arlpwe Artists Aboriginal Corporation assembling the new road sign. Ethan Wilson drilling holes in the sign with Jeremy Holmes assisting. Source: Judith Grieve

Contributing to other policy objectives

As well as Closing the Gap, the IEI in the arts and cultural sectors contributes to a number of other Australian Government policy objectives and international commitments, including:

  • National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Economic Participation
  • Indigenous Economic Development Strategy
  • National Indigenous Languages Policy
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Support for Indigenous arts and culture jobs also contributes to other government objectives, such as social inclusion.

Funding for the IEI in the arts and cultural sectors is administered by the Office for the Arts.