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“Know what you want, know what is out there and work towards it” – Shane Sturgiss on how he found his job at The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence

People find amazing jobs on EthicalJobs.com.au every day. This is part of a series of blog posts that go behind the scenes to meet some of the people and organisations finding each other through EthicalJobs.com.au.

Today’s story is from Shane Sturgiss who found his job as Job Ready Manager at National Centre of Indigenous Excellence on EthicalJobs.com.au.

The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) is a not-for-profit social enterprise that aims to build capability and create opportunities with and for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, from Sydney and across Australia.


Starting out with work

My first job was as a trainee store manager at Pizza Hut. I completed year 10 at high school and left for the traineeship.

Having worked in hospitality and retail, I moved across to work in the finance industry where I worked up to a Branch Manager of a credit union. Working in lending, I was seeing the terrible financial situations where people were borrowing money to get out of debt.

I then evaluated my level of workplace happiness and decided to retrain as a Financial Counsellor and attend University to complete a counselling degree. I completed a Bachelor Degree in Health Aging and Community Services, a certificate lV in Indigenous Leadership and Certificate lV in Community Advocacy. I worked as a Financial Counsellor, then a Tenancy Advocate while completing study. I moved to Sydney and commenced working as a Homelessness Support Manager and stayed in that role for 7 years before taking a redundancy and then being appointed at NCIE.


Working at NCIE

As a proud Aboriginal man, I was attracted to the role because of the organisation and being aware of the work they do for the betterment of the community.

NCIE offer a range of life and support services to the Aboriginal Community as well as a social enterprise gym and pool facility for the entire community. I have been appointed as the Job Ready Manager, which is a program that provides mentoring, training and employment opportunities to the Aboriginal community.

My day consists of some admin and contract management to ensure that training courses meet accreditation and compliance. I then arrange to meet with employers to establish employment pathways for our graduating students. In addition, I meet with Job Active providers to create meaningful referral pathways into the Job Ready program, while always being available to meet with students to discuss course concerns and life mentoring.

To date, the most impactful aspect of my job has been to be part of the impact investment proposal seeking additional funding for the program to grow it to enable a greater change to the way that training and employment is offered to Aboriginal communities. The most rewarding has been the graduation of students from the course – seeing Aboriginal people celebrate their achievements.


Why work for a better world?

Taking on this role, I was most interested in the cultural aspect of NCIE. As an Aboriginal man and having worked in large organisations, it was time for me to feel connected to community again and work in a culturally safe environment. I hold a strong social justice belief and it provides me with happiness to know that the work I am doing has positive impact.

I became familiar with EthicalJobs.com.au as part of my work in the community sector. In previous roles, I have used EthicalJobs to help recruit for available positions. It has been a wonderful source of information in establishing a career that matters.

I’d say to other jobseekers looking for a similar career: Know what you want, know what is out there and work towards it. Any passion you have can give you an income, it’s just a matter of knowing how. Be prepared and research the role and the organisation that you are applying for. And be confident in yourself and your knowledge, but also be prepared to ask questions – it is not expected that you will know everything.


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