Safeguarding cultural diversity in the workplace

AIME team

A new team of young Victorian’s are calling on the government to promote cultural awareness in professional workplaces.

The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) is a dynamic educational program, providing support and opportunities for Indigenous students to grow and succeed.

The Bill represents AIME’s first entrance into the YMCA Youth Parliament program, but the team feels confident in their proposal’s future.

“We want people in the workplace to understand that it is okay to be different,” said 16-year-old team member, Alarna Pyper. “We have all been bullied and treated differently before. We know what it is like and we want people to know that.”

The primary aim is to educate employees in different cultures and history.

AIME hopes to overcome the gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians, providing reconciliation and respect for Indigenous Australians.

If the Bill succeeds, all professionals in the education, health and legal sectors will be required to partake in cultural training, including oral training, administered by an Indigenous representative of the field.

“Where multiculturalism is growing, so too does the importance of understanding,” the Bill reads.

By educating employees on the history of Australia, the religions and traditions that are involved, the Bill will allow for more workplaces to understand the lives of Australia’s first peoples.

“People don’t know enough about our indigenous community,” said Pyper. “Each of our team members come from a different area of Melbourne and we notice that people are too scared to talk to indigenous people.”

“We want that to change, and we want to show that we aren’t different.”

AIME believe the Bill will assist in communication within the workplace, whilst minimising misunderstandings due to cultural differences.

This will, according to the Bill, “subsequently help to avoid problems related to low morale and lack of worker retention that occur from cultural clashes”.

The five team members aged 16 and 18, will debate their Bill in Victorian Parliament over three days in July.

“If we succeed, we hope that our cultural knowledge will be passed on,” said Pyper. “We want people to be aware, and to be kept updated on the changes in the history of indigenous culture for many years to come.”

The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience’s team consists of Alarna Pyper, Kylah Lewis, Brittany Paxton, Shaylene Black and Jedda Atkinson.

By Jess Howard

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