Industrial and Safety - Diversity and inclusion
The Industrial and Safety division strives to create inclusive work environments, with particular attention to gender balance, the engagement and employment of Indigenous Australians, and the principles of the Te Tiriti O Waitangi in New Zealand. This includes achieving effective gender balance and promoting inclusion of Indigenous peoples as suppliers and team members. A diverse workplace enables better business decisions and allows each business to better serve its customers.
Gender balance within the division is tracking within target, with 44 per cent female team members. Indigenous team members account for 2.7 per cent of the division’s Australian workforce and Indigenous supplier spend totalled over $3.5 million for the year — an almost $2.0 million increase from the previous year.
Blackwoods’ leadership team and line managers were able to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 environment, while simultaneously ensuring an effective and sustainable pipeline of Indigenous talent, candidates and career and skills development opportunities. Balancing conflicting yet equally important priorities and strategies is a challenge for the business.
Attraction and recruitment of high performing Indigenous candidates is a difficult task for many large organisations and is a challenge Blackwoods continues to focus on by building relationships with key stakeholders involved in traineeships, internships and scholarships. It has also focused on developing its own talent and engaging commercial partners, including Indigenous-owned ones, that are well-credentialled in providing and supporting casual, part-time and full-time team members who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.
During the year, Blackwoods Australia, Coregas and Workwear Group hosted an intern from CareerTrackers, a national non-profit organisation with the goal of creating pathways and support systems for Indigenous tertiary students. Blackwoods has long been a supporter and partner of the organisation and was awarded the prestigious CareerTrackers Corporate Plus Award. The award is presented to an employment partner who strives to create best practice in the implementation of the CareerTrackers program and who goes above and beyond in embedding the program in their business. Blackwoods also welcomed its first intern from CareerSeekers, a sister organisation to CareerTrackers that supports Australia's refugees and asylum seekers into professional employment through work-readiness training and internships.
Each business unit established an annual schedule of events to ensure an inclusive and varied approach to celebrating diversity with team members. Key events included NAIDOC Week, Reconciliation Week, International Women’s Day, Sydney Mardi Gras and Wear It Purple Day.
In New Zealand, NZ Safety Blackwoods continues to expand its approach to diversity and inclusion, which is underpinned by gender balance. The business is investigating Te Reo Maori and Pasifika as a second focus area for next year.