NAIDOC Week (8-15 July 2018), is an opportunity for the Department of Human Services to celebrate the important work of its Indigenous staff.
Kelly Ali (nee Sariago) is a proud Nyikina Djaru woman and joined the department through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Apprenticeship Program. She now works as a Customer Service Officer in Perth.
After spending several years working in retail, Kelly took the plunge and applied for the program, which aims to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples start their career in the public service.
“I wanted to do something different and set myself up for the future,” Kelly said.
“I like people and being able to help them is really rewarding.
“Sometimes it’s as simple as providing someone with information about the support that’s available to them.”
Kelly said her team and managers are friendly, supportive and encouraging, while the relationships she has built with other apprentices means she has developed a close group of friends too.
“I am really enjoying my role. The people are great and there is such a variety of work. I know I’ve landed a great opportunity and can really build my career here.”
As part of the program, Kelly is completing her Certificate IV in Government and has attended a range of training programs and events across the public service.
“As part of my apprenticeship I also have a mentor who provides me guidance and support,” Kelly said.
“This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is ‘Because of her, we can’, which couldn’t be more accurate about my mentor. She has helped me develop into my role and build confidence in the workplace.”
The department is a leader in Indigenous recruitment, with 5 per cent of its workforce made up of Indigenous staff and a number of initiatives to support Indigenous staff, such as the apprenticeship program Kelly is part of.
“Everyone is really supportive of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues. People genuinely want to see us do well,” Kelly said.