One of Australia’s largest providers of education and training to Aboriginal peoples, TAFE Western, will expand their focus to educating businesses and individuals with a ground-breaking cultural competency program, on Friday 29 May.
‘The Maliyan Experience’ cultural competence training program has been developed for industry and individuals as the initial step to bridging the gap through ‘Cultural excellence’ and is believed to be the first of its kind.
“The Maliyan Experience is based on the understanding that Aboriginal Cultural competence is not achieved through words alone, but through knowledge and firsthand experience with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures,’ said Rod Towney, Director Aboriginal Education and Equity Provision within TAFE Western.
Founded on research, including the Australian National Best Practice Framework for Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities, the six-stage program combines an online component, a personalised experience on country, workshops and then ongoing support with local indigenous groups. Each stage in this model has undergone extensive review, consultation and endorsement from Aboriginal peoples including Elders, and reflects the experience of TAFE Western in leading the way in Aboriginal Education and Training.
“There are cultural education programs around the nation at the moment, but there’s nothing at this level,” said Mr Towney. “TAFE Western has won numerous awards for the work we do with Aboriginal peoples in regional areas. We invited the indigenous communities to tell us what they wanted to include in this program, we were able to tailor the program for the needs of both government, big business and individuals.”
Chair of TAFE Western’s Aboriginal Community Reference Group, Ms Anne Dennis says the time was right for this program to be developed.
“It’s not that cultural competency hasn’t been addressed before,” said Ms Dennis, “but under TAFE Western’s leadership, and with their experience in successfully delivering education outcomes and pathways to employment for indigenous people, the time was right to create alternative programs.”
The Maliyan Experience has been praised for its holistic and thorough approach to understanding the ideologies of the first peoples of Australia, and their behavioral psyche, making it the perfect tool for both government organisations and large businesses looking to improve cultural excellence.
“The development of this program is about co-operation, real outcomes, and productivity,” Mr Towney said. “We are aiming to improve the understanding of Aboriginal culture and encourage more Aboriginal employment from gardeners, to middle management, to directors and for both the individual and the company to be proud of those achievements.”