Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned businesses are about 100 times more likely to employ First Australians than any other business. That’s game changing when it comes to addressing the 24.2% gap in employment rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
This is relevant for all sectors, including ours, because the Australian Government is leveraging its annual multi-billion procurement spend to grow the Indigenous business sector. Indigenous Participation Plans, which include procurement targets, are fast becoming an important focus for businesses like Thrifty tendering for substantial Government contracts.
"Thrifty is proud to be the only car rental company with Supply Nation membership. It has allowed us to successfully gain new corporate contracts as an increasing number of businesses look to expand their Indigenous participation and community commitment." - Maureen
Since 2014 we've been a member of Supply Nation, which helps us offer certified and capable Indigenous-owned businesses the opportunity to compete for supplier contracts. Since launching our RAP we've increased our procurement from Indigenous-owned businesses by 83% and added Position Promo and Shine Recruitment to our preferred supplier list. It's a small start but participating in forums like Supply Nation's Leadership Roundtable is one way we're learning more about supplier diversity in action.
The cultures of our First Nations peoples are something we can all be proud of, something we can all learn from and celebrate. Our RAP launch, which included a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony in front of 140 attendees, is one of 31 events that have observed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols. Now one of our CareerTrackers interns is working with Local Aboriginal Land Councils to help us recognise the Traditional Owners of the lands on which all of our businesses operate.
Thanks to face-to-face training by Arrilla and Corporate Culcha, we've helped 94 employees increase their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and our shared history. Following these sessions more employees have engaged with our RAP and have been prepared to self-identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person within the business.
Since 2014, we have grown our Learner Driver Mentor Program, providing licensing support that helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples access mobility and the opportunities it brings. This program offers end-to-end assistance throughout the Graduated Licensing Scheme, including access to registered vehicles and volunteer driving supervisors.
This program is delivering real change for the 39 graduates, who have all now gained their driver licence.
In September of 2017, we partnered with Australian Red Cross to support 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to get their licence and open pathways to study and work.
Participants use Australian Red Cross volunteer learner driver mentors as well as professional NRMA Driver Trainers to accrue the hours, experience and knowledge needed to get their licence.
Having a licence can also help people better meet the needs of their families and be an active part of their community. In Raymond Terrace, we’re partnering with Rotary and Wahroonga Aboriginal Corporation to help 10 Indigenous participants obtain their licence. Read more