INDIGENOUS jobseekers can look forward to a new year full of opportunities following an Australian Government Department of Human Services announcement it has launched an Indigenous Apprentice Program for the Tweed.
The Department of Human Services is responsible for delivery of payments and services to organisations such as Centrelink, Child support and Medicare and has invited Indigenous Australians to apply for six positions within the department.
The positions on offer are with the department's Smart Centre in Tweed that was one of a network of call centres operating throughout Australia.
Indigenous employment manager Carlyn Waters said recruitment of Indigenous staff was a priority in Tweed Heads because of the large Indigenous customer base.
"It helps to ensure we're providing services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate," Ms Waters said.
Ms Waters said Indigenous staff was engaged throughout the department in a variety of roles from front counter customer service officers to managers overseeing vital service delivery programs.
Apprentice Mitch Armour said he chose the course because it was a good opportunity to help people in the community and offered a good, secure job.
"The work can be difficult at times, especially when we speak to people who don't understand our end of the business," Mr Armour said.
"It's therefore important to be confident in your approach to customers."
Course coordinator and teacher Rebecca King said it was exceptionally rewarding to see the apprentices enter the program and observe their development.
"That's why I do the job," Ms King said.
Department of Human Services communication and media adviser Ken Wilson said the 12 month apprenticeship would introduce the successful applicants to the Smart Centre environment.
The program provided extensive training in how to understand and apply legislation and government policy and showed apprentices how to deal empathetically with people over the phone to give them the best service possible.