FOR more than a decade Fran Garbutt has helped indigenous job seekers find opportunities for meaningful and long-lasting employment.
She will now bring those skills to the table as part of the Queanbeyan City Council’s consultative committee on Aboriginal issues.
Ms Garbutt’s application to the committee was accepted at last month’s general council meeting. She will join up to 20 community representatives from schools, employment, health, education, youth and sport as they meet monthly to discuss issues affecting Queanbeyan’s indigenous population.
She hopes her experience working with job seekers will help inform the Council on both the barriers and opportunities to be gained by employing indigenous people.
In early 2000 Ms Garbutt made a career change from office administration to take on a role in the employment sector.
She spent 12 years at Job Services Australia managing a large indigenous client base from as far afield as Dubbo, the Riverina and far South Coast.
A year ago she began her current role as operations manager of indigenous employment service Habitat Personal ACT and Queanbeyan, where she takes a holistic approach to employment solutions.
‘‘It is quite obvious to all who work in employment services that someone will not stay in work if they don’t have home and family support, if they don’t have clothes to wear,’’ she said.
‘‘Unfortunately there’s is a lot of people who don’t have that and they simply won’t last in work.
‘‘We have to look holistically at the issues holistically at the issues around why people can’t find or stay in work.’’
Ms Garbutt said indigenous job seekers ntsa?canntecould have very different needs and ntsa?can ntecould benefit from regular contact, mentorship and job-specific training.
She will stay in contact with some clients ntsa?stay in contact ntefor up to 18 months after they find work.
‘‘Support and mentoring is key,’’ she said.
‘‘Unemployment is a huge issue and it’s always going to be an important issue.
‘‘It’s hard work and you do get some knocks. But at the end of the day when you get someone a job and see the difference that can make, that’s why I do it.’’
Chaired by Councillors Peter Bray and Tom Mavec the consultative committee on Aboriginal issues meets monthly, alternating between an informal chat and a formal meeting where minutes are adopted and motions put to councillors at their general meeting.
The committee has already identified issues such as a lack of indigenous candidates running in council elections as well as the expansion of the Queanbeyan Reconciliation Walk.
Ms Garbutt hoped to use her experience to develop opportunities for indigenous employment across the city.
‘‘For me the committee was an opportunity to be part of an existing body that draws from varying sectors from the community and has input into improving health and wellbeing opportunities,’’ she said.
‘‘Opportunity is the key really. We have to make opportunity for indigenous Australians to gain work.
‘‘From my business point of view I am always looking for opportunities where I can forge opportunity and open doors. If I can bring to this committee some insight into the issues that surround and then what we can do to boost their indigenous employment strategies as well.’’