By Elizabeth Trethewey, Communications Manager, Compass Group

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WITH the geographical footprint of its operations including many regional and remote areas of Australia, market-leading provider of food and support services ESS Support Services Worldwide (ESS) recognises it is in a unique position to positively benefit Indigenous communities.

ESS is guided in this endeavour by the dedicated Indigenous Strategy of its parent company, Compass Group.

This strategy outlines Compass Group’s commitment to achieve positive, sustainable and capacity building outcomes for Aboriginal Australians and is implemented via three clear objectives, the first of which is being actively involved in joint venture partnerships that will benefit Aboriginal communities.

As Compass Group General Manager Diversity & Indigenous Engagement, Vanessa Davies explains that it is through this commitment that ESS became involved in the Ichthys Project Onshore LNG Facilities, via the provision of village accommodation services at Manigurr-ma Village, Howard Springs.

“Through our joint venture partnership with the Larrakia Development Corporation, ESS Larrakia provides catering, cleaning and facilities management in addition to a range of support services to around 1300 residents at Manigurr-ma Village,” Ms Davies said.

“ESS Larrakia is just one of nine joint venture partnerships that Compass Group currently operates throughout Australia.”

“These joint ventures have combined annual revenue of $250 million, with this economic activity making a significant contribution to the communities of the Indigenous organisations Compass Group partner with.”

Being actively involved in joint venture partnerships that will benefit Aboriginal communities is one part of Compass Group’s Indigenous strategy, with the second approach the direct employment of Indigenous Australians via its Indigenous Training and Employment Program (ITEP), particularly in remote and regional operations.

“Through our training program being run onsite at ESS Larrakia, we have achieved great results for Indigenous employment with around 14 per cent of the 160-strong workforce made up of Indigenous employees,” said Ms Davies.

“We run the training program on other ESS joint venture sites across Australia and these efforts have contributed significantly to our commitment to employ local Indigenous peoples. Compass Group employs over 490 Indigenous Australians throughout its operations making up 4.5 per cent of our workforce compared to 2.5% of the country’s population,” she said.

The training platform is delivered via a site-based work-readiness program for Aboriginal candidates who, if not for some form of pre-employment training, may not otherwise be successful in securing employment within Compass Group’s operations.

After completing the training, applicants are given traineeships, apprenticeships and employment across all sectors of Compass’ business, which includes hospitality, catering, housekeeping, security, building and construction, facilities management, aged care and events.

“Our program has a great reputation for delivering employment outcomes for the graduates, such as those who completed one of the three programs run on site at ESS Larrakia last year,” Ms Davies said.

“A number of these graduates are undertaking apprenticeships at ESS Larrakia, with several completing their catering, electrical and carpentry formal qualifications,” said Ms Davies.

In addition to joint venture partnerships and the direct employment of Indigenous Australians, Compass Group’s Indigenous Strategy also sees the company supporting locally based initiatives to help build stronger and healthier communities.

“ESS and our parent company Compass Group recognise we are in a unique position to be able to positively affect the participation rates of Indigenous Australians via joint venture partnerships such as ESS Larrakia and other initiatives considering the proximity of our operations to Indigenous communities and we committed do the long-term sustainability of these partnerships,” said Ms Davies.