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First Peoples

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Report
Description

The Career Pathways Project is an Aboriginal-led national research project funded by the Lowitja Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). The Career Pathways Project conducted the first national survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health staff across all professions, roles and jurisdictions in Australia. The survey sought to better understand the development needs and career pathways in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce to inform strategies to improve employment, retention and career opportunities and add further data to that which is captured by routine workforce surveys.

The aim of this report is to provide insight and guidance to enhance the capacity of the workplaces, and the health system more broadly to retain and support the development and careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the workforce.

Key Findings/Recommendations:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers live in two worlds and are able to bridge the Western medical model and the more holistic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health model, providing a critical link between these two world views for clients and non-Indigenous clinicians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers described being able to heal two-ways, understanding the impact of trans-generational trauma and colonisation and respecting cultural health beliefs.
  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce brings an intuitive understanding of cultural safety and competence to an organisation that needs to be celebrated and harnessed across all organisations in the health sector, particularly where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers experience racism and other barriers to career progression.
  • Opportunities to enter the health workforce at a junior level or as a paid trainee are very influential. These experiences form the building blocks upon which further supported career progression can be built. Mentoring by respected managers and senior health professionals assists individuals to build their careers and helps the workforce as a whole to grow.
  • Knowing someone else who works in health and receiving encouragement from family members and others is important. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health managers and workers are influential role models. By their example, they inspire others to pursue a career in health and provide inspiration for community members to take care of their own health.

Expanding and strengthening the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professional workforce is recognised as crucial for improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The Career Pathways Project takes a national perspective and aims to provide insights and guidance to enhance the capacity of the health system to retain and support the development and careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the health workforce.

Publication Details
ISBN:
978-1-921889-65-3
Access Rights Type:
open