Walk With Us program to boost First Nations leaders

Queensland Government media release

A new mentoring program has launched in Cherbourg to boost the number of First Nations leaders in child safety and youth justice increasing the cultural capabilities of all staff.

Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard said Walk With Us is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander career development program for employees within her portfolio.

“This new mentoring program allows each participant to teach and share wisdom and expertise.  It helps break down barriers and creates a more culturally safe workplace for all staff,” she said.

“The program will be trialled for six months and will connect five Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff aspiring to a leadership role with five non-Indigenous senior staff in a mutually beneficial mentoring program.

“Staff from Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and Brisbane are involved in this trial and will meet for the first time this week in Cherbourg for a two-day immersion program.

“This is a fresh approach to career development opportunities for our First Nations people.  It will be the start of a new journey of cultural capability and understanding for our child safety and youth justice executives, which will no doubt flow on to all staff.”

Non-Indigenous senior staff will share their knowledge and experience and help to remove barriers that may impact career development paths for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In turn, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff will provide cultural advice and expertise, inviting their mentor on community visits to meet with Elders and share cultural experiences.

“I’m proud to be part of a government committed to reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families coming into contact with the child protection and youth justice systems,” Ms Linard said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have the right to be raised in their own culture and to know the importance and value of their family, extended family, kinship networks, community and country.

“We want to empower First Nations people to confidently walk in both worlds and build the strength and capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to keep their children safe, strong and connected to their culture.”

The Walk With Us trial program will conclude in November and will be evaluated to determine its successes and outcomes.