African-Australian Inclusion Program wins 2011 Melbourne Award

Sunday 28 August 2011

National Australia Bank (NAB) and Jesuit Social Services (JSS) 'African-Australian Inclusion Program' (AAIP) has won a Melbourne Award for its contribution to the community.

The Melbourne Awards celebrate the people and organisations whose vision and hard work shapes our city and honour a diverse range of contributions, focusing on individuals, community organisations and businesses who give their time selflessly for the benefit of the city.

The workforce inclusion program, AAIP, helps skilled African-Australians gain mainstream employment by providing a six-month paid work placement at NAB in order to gain Australian corporate experience.

NAB Head of Group Planning & Forecasting, Joanne Cushing said she was very proud that the program had been recognised for its contribution to the community.

"For three years NAB has been working closely with JSS to address the disproportionate number of skilled African-Australians who, for a number of reasons, are facing challenges gaining employment in their chosen field.

"We hope that, through this award, other business leaders will see the value that a program like AAIP could have in their own organisation and come and talk to us about setting up a similar program," said Ms Cushing.

Through employment, African-Australians are empowered to contribute to the Melbourne community both culturally and economically, while also enriching the corporate environment by increasing diversity and skills.

AAIP graduate, Rachel Riak, who, since completing her six-month placement, has secured a full time role at NAB as a supply tester said she is very grateful for the opportunities that the program has offered her.

On accepting the award last night, Ms Riak said, "It is an exciting moment for me, NAB and the African community because we know that someone out there is thinking of us and trying to solve our problems.

"I am proud to be part of NAB because I know I am part of the solution so please keep on supporting us, bear with us and we will grow together," said Ms Riak. NAB congratulates the other category finalists, including Grocon for Common Ground and Magistrate’s Court of Victoria for The Court Integrated Services Program, for the great work they do in the community.

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Sharna Rhys-Jones
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About the African-Australian Inclusion Program

The program provides six-month paid work experience placements to skilled African-Australian who fill genuine roles within the bank. A joint-venture between National Australian Bank (NAB) and Jesuit Social Services (JSS), the program is in its third year, 53 skilled African-Australians have gone through the program and 40 per cent of those have found jobs at the bank. Round six will commence in September with 17 participants, including the first ever participant from Sydney. For more information about the program, please contact Jade Camilleri, 03 8634 0295 or