Getting the mob a job

HIHAT Aboriginal Corporation mentors and supports Indigenous job seekers up to and beyond the point of their employment.

Dubbo, New South Wales: HIHAT Aboriginal Corporation is a new corporation that is already achieving its aim of getting Aboriginal people into training and jobs. Janelle Whitehead is the sole member and director of the corporation, which she registered in October 2018.

Seven Aboriginal construction workers receive their Certificate II; an eighth man stands with them

Job seekers after completing their Certificate II in Construction in Mount Druitt

Janelle with Corey Robinson, the CEO of Goanna Services collaborating to get job seekers ready to undertake government contracts

Janelle with Corey Robinson, the CEO of Goanna Services collaborating to get job seekers ready to undertake government contracts

The corporation’s goal is to seek business opportunities for Aboriginal people and use those opportunities to improve the lives of Aboriginal people through training, employment and social programs.

HIHAT stands for honesty, integrity, honour and trust. The name derives from a local story Janelle heard in Portugal, on one of her first trips overseas. The story stuck with her and inspired her to live and work by these values.

Janelle explains her motivation for starting the corporation:

Working in big corporations I noticed there was a gap between support offered to job-seekers and support given to people once they got the job. I realised that there was a need for an individualised support service. The mob are all very capable but sometimes they need support along the way to help negotiate something as simple as a day off work for a funeral.

Over the past three months, HIHAT has successfully placed 30 job seekers in employment, with Janelle personally mentoring each of them. Another nine job seekers completed their civil construction certificates, reducing barriers to employment and opening themselves to opportunities arising from the construction of the new Western Sydney airport.

HIHAT is contracted by Job Active provider Max Employment to offer Indigenous mentoring and employment solutions that help Indigenous job seekers to find and stay in employment, particularly in the Western Sydney, Hunter Valley and Illawarra regions.

Group of people outside having just completed an induction workshop

Job seekers complete a workplace induction and information day at Tox Free

As with all corporations, HIHAT’s success depends on effective governance, which is something Janelle takes seriously. Recently she attended ORIC’s free Two-day Governance Workshop in Port Macquarie to learn about director duties, recordkeeping and compliance with the CATSI Act. Janelle is using the tools and techniques she learned in training to help her run the corporation’s business.

The governance arrangements for sole member and director corporations are a bit different to the usual requirements for corporations under the CATSI Act. For example, as she is the only member, there is no need to hold board meetings, general meetings or annual general meetings. To pass a member resolution, Janelle simply has to record the resolution in writing and sign it. The signed resolution is then kept in the corporation’s minute books. The same goes for resolutions that she passes when she is wearing her director’s hat.

Woman and a man stand happily in front of a car in a mechanic workshop

Janelle with Will Day, who has recently opened a Koori mechanical workshop in Maitland

ORIC wishes HIHAT Aboriginal Corporation every success in its mission of transforming the lives of Aboriginal people through training and jobs.

If you are interested in participating in free governance training, or to find out more, see oric.gov.au/training or reach out to ORIC by phone or email.