Paving the Way to more good jobs for First Nations People

Published Thursday, 08 September, 2022 at 11:52 AM

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Di Farmer

The Palaszczuk Government has launched its first plan to develop Queensland’s First Nations workforce and improve job outcomes through training and support on day two of the 2022 QCOSS Conference.

Minister for Training and Skills Development, Di Farmer released the $8.3 million Paving the Way - First Nations Training Strategy to develop skills relevant to the local needs of First Nations people and their communities.

“The strategy will support First Nations People to be better connected with training and skilling opportunities that link importantly to sustainable good local jobs,” the Minister said.

“It includes funding for Indigenous-led training and workforce solutions; skills and training pathway opportunities and support that meet local workforce needs; and builds cultural awareness skills and competency in local workplaces.”

Strategy actions include:

  • delivering a new Indigenous Workforce and Skills Development Grant program to fund community designed and led projects
  • one-on-one mentoring and coaching for First Nations business owners and operators
  • supporting non-Indigenous business owners and operators to build cultural capability and establish culturally safe workplaces.

The strategy is a key commitment under the government’s Future Skills Fund which is focused on building the skills needed for the jobs of the future.

“There will be more tailored support and information to navigate training and workforce opportunities and investment in new industry and community partnerships focussed on improving the participation and retention of First Nations people through the new Workforce Connect Fund,” Minister Farmer said.

“The Workforce Connect Fund is part of the Good people. Good jobs; Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032 that was launched last week.

“The fund will increase investment in industry and community-led projects that address attraction, retention, and participation issues within the workforce.

Paving the Way recognises that skills and training development for First Nations people will be more successful when solutions are developed locally and supported by community.

“Through the Statement of Commitment, Path to Treaty and the Local Thriving Communities reform, the Palaszczuk Government is building a reframed relationship that recognises First Nations peoples as the First Peoples of Queensland.

“These relationships will be built on respect, with a focus on self-determination, Truth Telling and an open dialogue.

“This is also the Palaszczuk Government delivering on another of it’s election commitments and addressing a key priority of the recent Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2023 and reinforced at the recent National Jobs Summit, addressing barriers to employment for First Nations People.”

Paving the Way was developed after consultation and engagement with a range of stakeholders state-wide, including regional Queensland and remote communities, focus groups and a Consultation Roundtable in June 2022.

Community stakeholder consultation sessions were undertaken in Cairns, Thursday Island, Townsville, Rockhampton, Mount Isa, Normanton, Napranum, Cooktown, Hopevale, and Yarrabah.

In addition, online sessions were held in South East Queensland with community-based organisations, Indigenous small businesses, TAFE Queensland and registered training organisations. An online session was also held with the Mornington Shire Council.

“This new way of working together aims to deliver real change and outcomes through a genuine partnership with shared responsibility between the Queensland Government and First Nation communities.

Paving the Way focuses on First Nations peoples participation in the economy through jobs and employment,” Minister Farmer said.

The strategy aligns with the current Moving Ahead economic participation strategy, aimed at improving training and building the skills of First Nations peoples.

Other initiatives announced under the strategy include:

  • Funding of targeted projects to improve school to work transitions for First Nations students
  • Extending funding support for a further three years for the Local Government Association of Queensland to build workforce capacity in remote Indigenous communities.
  • Providing supported pathways to completing higher level qualifications with Skills Assure Suppliers for apprentices and trainees and the Certificate 3 Guarantee
  • A pilot connecting Indigenous businesses with training, resources and support services in Far North Queensland
  • Partnering with industry to kick start or transition to a career in digital through the First Nations Digital Careers Program.


For more information on the strategy


Media contact: Tim Auguston 0417768626