Holiday Inn Cairns' Tanyekia with HR Manager Craig Tenar and GM Matt Rippin

Leading not-for-profit employment organisation, the Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES), has entered into a ground-breaking partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

According to the company, IHG’s commitment is to see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders share in the economic benefits of the Australian Tourism Industry.

The organisation plans to achieve this by providing education, training, employment and business opportunities to Indigenous high school kids across Australia in partnership with the AES.

Initially, the AES will help IHG engage, mentor and train Indigenous school based trainees (SBT). The traineeship involves two years of on the job training while students are in year 11 and 12 studying for their HSC. At the end of year 12, SBT’s will not only graduate from high school, they will have also have earned a Certificate II in Hospitality and received industry-specific training that will set them up for long-term careers in the industry.

IHG endeavours to train at least two Indigenous students in all 31 properties across Australia in the next three years. IHG has already welcomed three AES trainees to their staff in WA, VIC and QLD.

The hotel giant is working towards having two per cent of its total workforce made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders by 2013, with the long-term vision that many will go on to join leadership teams and become mentors to other colleagues in the organisation.

IHG Australasia’s Director of HR, Marcus Tait said the company is delighted to be partnering with the AES.

“The AES is a professional, like-minded organisation that provides IHG with the framework and structure to offer school based trainees opportunities to grow and succeed within our organisation,” he said. “It was important to us that the AES can offer localised support from all of their offices across Australia.

“To develop the industry’s best and brightest, we need to work with a diverse and multicultural employee base. Every large organisation needs youth employment and school based training programs to provide a variety of entry-level employees who are young, keen and energetic.

“Partnering with the AES gives us access to a strong pipeline of Indigenous talent and also guarantees we have a support network for these trainees to ensure they are happy and productive.”

AES CEO Danny Lester said: “The AES is proud to be partnering with the Intercontinental Hotels Group on this program and we look forward to supporting Indigenous students in their goals to forge successful careers in the hospitality industry.

“The ground-breaking ‘2011 AES Careers Report’ found that education and careers are of paramount importance to Indigenous youth in Australia, with 97% saying that education and training is a crucial stepping-stone to securing meaningful careers.”

The AES has been a pioneer of school-based traineeships for Indigenous students since it began delivering them in partnership with ANZ and Commonwealth Bank of Australia in 2002.

It now works in partnership with Corporate Partners across Australia to deliver the traineeships; a model that has recently been rolled out nationally as part of the Indigenous Youth Career Pathway Program (IYCPP), launched by the former Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development earlier this year.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management