Chasing the pathway to cultural competence

By Angela Dorizas

Government employees can now increase their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, with the launch of the Centre for Cultural Competence Australia (CCCA).

CCCA is the first online provider of accredited, competency based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural training courses. It provides cultural training for both public and private sector organisations and recently signed a contract with GP NSW to train 550 health professionals.

The centre has also provided training for the youth services department of Fairfield City Council in New South Wales and is currently in consultation with other local governments interested in the program.

CCCA founder and director Bronwyn Lumby said the centre provided government departments and their employees with a “pathway to cultural competence”.

“This will allow them to provide effective services to Indigenous people throughout Australia,” Ms Lumby told Government News.

The centre was established by Indigenous consultancy firm The Echnida Group, of which Ms Lumby is a director, to provide ‘back to basics’ training in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and politics.

“We could see that there was this real need for a foundational course in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency,” Ms Lumby said.

“People were coming to us for training without much knowledge.

“It took us a long time to get them to a point where we could actually start talking about the things that were happening in the local area.”

There are five components of the Pathway to Cultural Competency course, all of which are conducted online. Participants begin with the foundational course, followed by local specific training, role specific training, service specific training and finally, ongoing training.

The courses were developed in consultation with an advisory panel composed of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, community educators, community leaders and academics.

“It is TAFE accredited, so there are actually some real tangible qualifications at the end of it,” Ms Lumby said.

“As you proceed through the course there online assessments you have to undertake.

“The final component of the foundational course is developing a community engagement strategy – we talk you through that step-by-step.

“This will help you move to the next stage of cultural competency, which is of course local specific training.”

Ms Lumby said the centre has already received encouraging feedback from course participants.

“We have an evaluation process at the end of the course and so far 100 per cent of the evaluation has been really positive feedback,” she said.

Ms Lumby said the centre has other online training programs in the pipeline, including a course on developing Aboriginal employment strategies.

“It’s about service provision, retention and attracting Indigenous staff,” she said.

“We’re very excited about the new courses which have been developed out of demand.”

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