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CareerTrackers building bright future for Indigenous interns

CareerTrackers building bright future for Indigenous interns

CareerTrackers building bright future for Indigenous interns

4 July 2022

Intern Isobel with The Salvation Army’s Harriet Crisp.

By Naomi Singlehurst

Late last year, The Salvation Army, in partnership with the Indigenous Internship program CareerTrackers*, offered roles to four interns for the duration of their university degrees. Those first interns began working within the Salvos’ Human Resources, Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD), Domestic and Family Violence and Enterprise Change teams.

In the spirit of the NAIDOC Week 2022 theme – ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’, which speaks to creating meaningful change for First Nations peoples – The Salvation Army has launched a pilot program that works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interns of excellence for the life of their degree. The program has been funded for the first 12 months through a Salvation Army Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grant.

Internships generally run over 12 weeks each year. Eventually, the internship will be converted to a full-time position after graduation.

Stepahine Tasker, project coordinator.

“We recently completed the first block and had great feedback from our managers and our interns,” says Stephanie Tasker, project coordinator.

The process begins with the Salvos team outlining each role available. CareerTrackers then matches a student and provides a profile of one suitable potential intern for each role.

“From there, we receive more information about the intern, including what they are studying and where their career is heading and then work through the usual recruitment process,” Stephanie explains. “Our goal is to ensure both the student and The Salvation Army service flourish.”

New experiences and opportunities

Intern Isobel, a Badu, Mabuyag and Boigu Islands woman studying a Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) at the University of Queensland, completed the first block of her CareerTrackers internship earlier this year at the Salvos’ recovery centre in Brisbane.

For Isobel, AOD was a completely new area of work to consider and, at first, she was nervous about working in the field.

“I am so happy that I took the leap of faith and accepted the interview invitation,” she says. “I am even happier and so grateful that I was offered the position as an intern.

“The internship allowed me to gain skills, knowledge and insight into AOD, as well as general therapeutic interventions, welfare frameworks, and the systems and structures involved in human services.

“I was able to draw [on] and utilise knowledge and skills learnt during my studies in social work, which was an empowering process because it connected study and practice, and I will be able to carry this on as an emerging social work practitioner.”

Isobel has been guided by Harriet Crisp, the Salvos’ AOD State Manager in Queensland.

“The projects Isobel completed during her internship will support our team to better support participants and have better outcomes,” Harriet says. “We also want to acknowledge Isobel’s positive energy and the effect she had on the centre. This is truly a reciprocal exercise.”

Learning from each other

Stephanie says more internships will be offered at a pace that ensures the very best experience for current and future interns.

“We have incredible interns who learn from their line managers, peers and teams about the sector that they are interested in for their careers and so build skills and capability,” she says.

“However, managers and teams also learn from the intern just as much. Teams learn how to create a culturally safe and welcoming environment and to be open to suggestions and changes based on their intern sharing (if they wish) of their own culture and identity.

“This gives their teams a deeper understanding, respect and desire to learn to work even more effectively alongside Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander colleagues, clients, customers and community members. So, it has a huge flow-on effect. When our interns thrive, we all thrive!

“CareerTrackers is a non-profit organisation working to help create pathways and support systems for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults to attend and graduate from university with high marks, industry experience and bright professional futures.”

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