Indigenous employment service being trialled in Yarrabah

Nine people sitting on a grassy slope, smiling at the camera.

This story was first published on Thursday 26 July 2018. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

The Australian Government has invested $5 million over four years for the trial of a place-based employment services model in the Indigenous community of Yarrabah in norther Queensland.

The trial, which launched on 2 July 2018, is allowing government employment services to be delivered in the community by the community.

Wugu Nyambil (‘holding onto work’) is the result of a partnership between the Yarrabah Council and the Department of Jobs and Small Business.

Wugu Nyambil Acting General Manager Darren Birt said the service involves more local community members in its service delivery.

‘One of the key aspects of the new employment service… is all of our staff members are either residents of Yarrabah or have a very close connection to Yarrabah.

‘And the hope is the end result will be that having local people delivering the service means we can more specifically target areas of need,’ Darren said.

‘Nobody will know the challenges facing job seekers living in Yarrabah better than people from Yarrabah.

‘One of the biggest differences will be more flexibility around how the service is delivered and one of the key aspects will be utilising local stakeholders, which will result in more positive outcomes for the community.

‘So, in a nutshell, we’ll be able to run activities to build people’s capacity, skills and confidence, and we’ll have a wide scope as to how those activities can be set up.

‘It’s a tailored, individualised employment service for the community of Yarrabah.’

Regional Manager for North Queensland for the Department of Jobs and Small Business, Duncan Chalmers said the project will mean employment services will be better aligned to the community’s social and economic priorities.

‘In consultations with Indigenous Australians there has been consistent feedback that Indigenous organisations are not being given the chance to deliver services in their community for the betterment of their community.

‘Previous evaluations of employment services show that when providers are connected to community organisations and employ Indigenous staff they achieve better outcomes,’ Duncan said.

Yarrabah was chosen for this pilot program because it is the largest regional or remote Aboriginal community in Australia (ABS 2016 Census), it is close to the major employment market of Cairns, and consultations with the community initiated the proposal.

To build the capacity of Yarrabah to deliver employment services, a flexible funding pool is available to deliver local employment projects, for example a community skills and training activity.

*Thanks to the Yarrabah News for providing permission to republish their photo and some of the quotes used in this story.

Feature caption: Pictured above are local staff Dale Thomas, Kylene Tyson, Jasmine Keyes, Raynard Mudu-Elliott, Neil Mayo, Raelea Connolly-Neal, Fabian Lester O’Burns & Shakira Thaiday, with Acting General Manager Darren Birt second from the right in the back row. Missing from the pic is Zoe Thomas. Photo by Christine Howe used with permission.

Correct at time of publication.