Coles aims to grow Indigenous employees to 5500 by 2023

Supermarket giant Coles has announced plans to hire approximately 1300 Indigenous workers by 2023, making up five per cent of the company’s total headcount.

The supermarket aims to expand the number of Indigenous team members in trade-skilled and leadership roles from 200 to over 500 by 2023, by investing in training and dedicated mentoring to help them gain trade skills and management opportunities.

In 2011, the supermarket set a target of adding 3000 team members from the Indigenous community, from just 65 employees at the time. It is now the country’s largest corporate employer of Indigenous Australians with more than 4,200 Indigenous team members.

“Coles is seen as a safe, supportive and welcoming place for indigenous Australians to work, a place where you can develop a career, and we’ve worked hard to achieve this,” said Coles head of indigenous affairs Russell James.

“Our initial ambition was to employ 3000 Indigenous team members by 2020. We’re pleased to have well and truly exceeded this, and have now set the bar higher to 5500 people. Our high retention rates of indigenous team members will go a long way to achieving this.”

The move follows the Federal Government’s Close the Gap 2019 report which highlighted a lack of improvement in Indigenous employment. The supermarket giant is working with Aboriginal employment specialists, including Aboriginal Employment Strategy, Australian Indigenous Business Alliance Group, MEEDAC Aboriginal Corporation and Wunan Foundation.

“We appreciate the contribution of all of our partners, but it’s especially fantastic for a national organisation like Coles to work with us to empower the indigenous communities by investing in their abilities and providing real work opportunities to strengthen their futures,” said Wunan general manager programs Dr John Scougall.

Currently 3.6 per cent of Coles staff identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.


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