Why cultural awareness training is important

by John Hilton07 Mar 2016
Cultural awareness training is a really important part of Nous Group’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which began about 18 months ago, said Amanda Codila, chief people officer at the management consulting and leadership development firm Nous Group.

The RAP is Nous Group’s commitment to promoting their vision for reconciliation which is an Australia where everyone shares the same standard of living and the same opportunities.

“Every Nous Group employee goes through cultural awareness training, which is run by an independent Indigenous facilitator,” said Codila.

“It’s also part of the employee induction to the organisation. We run it every six months and our employees spend approximately four hours in training.”

The purpose is to provide historical context around Indigenous Australians, and to raise awareness of how we can be respectful to them, Codila added.

“It’s really about providing understanding about the culture and the history behind Indigenous Australians, and then to respect that and find ways to work with them in a way that is valuable for both parties,” she said.

“We then take that further when we are doing work in that space, which can be seen in how we design policy impacting Indigenous Australians, and community engagement programs.

“This helps employees be mindful about how they interact with Indigenous Australians in a respectful way.”

Nous has worked on a range of projects with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and stakeholders throughout Australia.

These have included projects to develop and review strategies and policies to improve services for Indigenous Australians, and to facilitate engagement between the private sector and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“I think the first insight you gain from people who have taken part in the training is that they are often shocked at the historical context of how Australia has treated its Indigenous population,” said Codila.

“A lot of us were never taught that at school. For a lot of people there is surprise and anger about that.”

The company has also developed an Indigenous Employment Strategy which is part of their goal for at least 2% of Nous employees to be Indigenous.


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