Backing greater career opportunities for African Australians
NAB and Jesuit Social Services have today announced they will extend their award-winning African Australian Inclusion Program (AAIP) to Sydney branches for the first time.
The AAIP has been running at NAB for nine years and provides six months paid corporate experience to skilled African Australians struggling to gain employment due to a lack of local experience. So far, 340 participants have participated in the program, with many then gaining permanent roles at NAB.
NAB traditionally offered AAIP places in its head offices, but last October a pilot began with five roles at Victorian branches. In expanding opportunities to the branch network we demonstrated that right to our ‘front line’, we want our employees to reflect the diverse customers and communities that we serve.
Positive feedback has led to an extension in this branch pilot, with three AAIP participants to start in Sydney branches in April. There will be a further three new participants in customer-facing branch roles in Victoria. They will form part of a cohort of 41 new AAIP participants across NAB.
Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards said the AAIP was proof diversity is an asset.
“Participants in this program, as well as our staff and the staff at NAB, have grown and flourished through involvement with the AAIP. It is exciting to now see the program expand into retail branches where the community will also get a chance to experience the richness of passion and skill that participants bring to their work,” she said.
The program’s achievements have led to other major Australian organisations setting up similar programs.
“Further proof of the success of this model is the recent government funding Jesuit Social Services has received to expand and partner with others to support more marginalised workers into skilled jobs,” said Ms Edwards.
NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn said the pilot in Sydney branches further highlighted the value of the program. “The AAIP has changed lives and, in the process, changed the bank in making it a more people-oriented organisation,” he said.
“This has been done by people taking a risk, having courage and making things happen. It is such a great story of what we are and what we need to be.”
A graduation ceremony will be held at NAB in Melbourne on 26 March for the latest round of AAIP participants based in Victoria.
- The AAIP program has been such a success that in May 2017 the Victorian Government announced funding of $550,000 to help our partner on the program, Jesuit Social Services, establish similar inclusion programs with other organisations.
- In November 2017, the AAIP program won the Multicultural Business Award at Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence 2017.
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