Former Cowra man Adam Spittles has has graduated from the Indigenous Apprenticeships Program (IAP).
The program has launched the public service careers of 238 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Apprentices from across Australia gathered in Canberra at the end of last year for their graduation and were treated to performances from Indigenous dance group Djuki Mala and ‘The Voice’ grand finalist, Kristal West.
Adam, a Wiradjuri man, is the son of former Cowra woman Carol Spittles who now resides on the Gold Coast.
He also spent time in Parkes and Dubbo and is now based in Brisbane.
“The day I got the call with the offer, I was filled with joy because it was something I never thought I would get,” Adam said.
“As a young teenager, I was quite rebellious and dropped out of school in Year 8.
“I moved away from my friends and family, and after a few years of living in Sydney, I made my way to Brisbane.
“I was 18 years old at the time, and without a high school education I was scared of the prospect of finding a job.
“A friend eventually suggested I apply for the IAP and I haven’t looked back.”
I want others considering enrolling to know that you can do anything, or become anyone if you apply yourself. Lack of education doesn’t have to hold your back.Adam Spittles
As part of the program, apprentices receive a nationally recognised certificate or diploma level qualification, along with a full time entry-level position and a competitive salary.
“This year I’ve completed a Diploma of Government, which has inspired me to begin further studies in social work,” Adam said.
“I want others considering enrolling to know that you can do anything, or become anyone if you apply yourself. Lack of education doesn’t have to hold your back.”
The Department of Human Services leads recruitment for the program, which spans across multiple government agencies and organisations.
Adam is one of more than 900 apprentices who have joined the Australian Public Service through the program since 2015, 650 of whom have joined the Department of Human Services.
Recruitment for the program in 2017 saw the department exceed its five per cent Indigenous staffing target. The proportion of Indigenous staff employed by the department currently sits at 5.3 per cent.
The success of the program was recognised with the ‘Stan Grant Indigenous Employment Award’ at the 2018 Australian Human Resources Institute Awards.
It recognises excellence in Indigenous employment initiatives and programs in the workplace.
Indigenous Employment Strategies Assistant Director, Robbie Enchong said it was an honour to be awarded.
“Our team is incredibility passionate about the work we do, and we’re committed to increasing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders,” Robbie said.
“This award is recognition of that and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved over the last four years.”
Applications for the next intake of the program will open during 2019.
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