A new, nation-leading policy which will mandate jobs for Indigenous people and boost the number of Indigenous students entering higher education has been launched this week by UTS.
For the first time, the new Indigenous Education and Employment Policy (IEEP) will embed Indigenous strategy as core business for UTS and not on the periphery.
The development of the policy has been led by Professor Michael McDaniel, who brings more than 20 years' experience in Indigenous education to his role as Director of UTS's Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning.
UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Milbourne said that while previous policies have reflected UTS's commitment to reconciliation and equity, IEEP aligns UTS with national Indigenous higher education objectives.
"With our new policy UTS hopes to be ahead of the curve nationally in committing to a whole-of-university approach to Indigenous employment and education," Professor Milbourne said.
"We know we need to lift our numbers to have real representation across the whole of the university and we have backed our commitment to this policy with significant resources and strategic support.
"To help us deliver on our commitment, I have directed each faculty and division to nominate at least one vacancy per year that should be targeted to be filled by an Indigenous Australian. Very importantly, these are to be mainstream positions – not 'Indigenous specific' positions.
"This is on top of a commitment to providing opportunities for UTS Indigenous students to consider cadetships, internships and traineeships as part of their studies, with a view to ongoing employment at UTS."
Professor McDaniel said the policy was built on the idea that Indigenous development should hold a status within the university similar to research, teaching and learning, and internationalisation.
"The higher education sector has long shown leadership in changing the perception and reality of the place of Indigenous people in Australian society, but now it is time to take these efforts beyond the confines of university Indigenous and equity units," Professor McDaniel said.
"There's often a misunderstanding that Indigenous education is just for Indigenous people, where in fact it is relevant to every student at university. That's certainly how we should be thinking about it... it's about nation building."
IEEP also includes the development of Indigenous specific subjects and content (both as core and elective subjects) and embeds acts of Indigenous recognition and partnership into the public and ceremonial life of UTS.
The policy was launched on 25 October in the UTS Chancellery with a keynote address by the Federal Minister for Human Services and Social Inclusion, and UTS graduate, Tanya Plibersek.
Also announced was a new agreement through the NSW Government's Koori Job Ready program for the creation of a significant number of jobs, training and education opportunities for Indigenous people as part of the UTS $1 billion masterplan construction.