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Indigenous Apprenticeship program wins national award.

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MINISTER’S MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Scavo 0413 800 757

MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig Minister for Human Services

Friday 5 September 2008

Indigenous Apprenticeship program wins national award

A Centrelink apprenticeship program, which was recognised last night with a prestigious award, is providing real job opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, has congratulated Centrelink’s Port Macquarie Call Centre for taking out the Award for Excellence for Employers of Australian Apprentices for the Hunter and North Coast NSW region.

The Awards, sponsored by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, recognise employers who demonstrate commitment, innovation and outstanding achievement in the training of Australian apprentices.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, presented the Minister’s Award to Port Macquarie Call. The award was accepted by team leader Angela Johnson.

Senator Ludwig said Centrelink’s Indigenous employment rate is above the Australian Public Service average, and the Indigenous Apprenticeship Program will continue to build on these results.

“The program was developed to provide Indigenous people with job opportunities and increase the number of Indigenous employees across Centrelink’s call centre network,” Senator Ludwig said.

“Around 20 apprentices were recruited during the initial intake and are currently working in the Port Macquarie, Latrobe, Port Augusta and Townsville call centres.”

“This year, the program is expanding and will include call centres in Bunbury, Cairns and Coffs Harbour, with recruitment already underway.”

Senator Ludwig said these apprentices are a vital part of Centrelink’s commitment to quality customer service.

“The program offers structured training and a supportive environment and provides a great opportunity for a rewarding career with the Australian Government’s largest service delivery agency,” he said.

“Centrelink’s customers cover the full spectrum of Australian life and society, and Centrelink’s workforce reflects and is sensitive to this diversity.”

“The success of this apprenticeship program highlights Centrelink’s commitment to providing real employment opportunities for young Indigenous Australians.”