The journey toward a Reconciliation Action Plan for Forrest Personnel

Warandi Boodja, a 5.5 metre steel bust sculpture that represents the face of a Noongar elder

During NAIDOC week 2020, Forrest Personnel CEO, Anna Bagshaw, confirmed that we were beginning the co-design of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the organisation. She announced by video that: “We want everyone on our team to be part of this journey. It’s important to us because I want Forrest Personnel to be a welcoming place for everyone. And we want to understand what’s important to Aboriginal people with disability in their search for work. This will help Forrest Personnel to support more people to make the most of their abilities.”

It’s now early in the year, and we thought it would be a good time to provide an update on where things are at. But first, some basics.

What’s reconciliation all about?

Clearly stated and according to the Reconciliation Australia website: “At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians.”

What’s a RAP?

Once again referencing the website of Reconciliation Australia: “A RAP is a strategic document that supports an organisation’s business plan. It includes practical actions that will drive an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation both internally and in the communities in which it operates.”

Where are we at with our process?

Forrest Personnel is working in collaboration with IPS Management Consultants, and the process is being led by Director Jahna Cedar and project managed by Nina Smith. The IPS team has facilitated two workshops at our Bunbury office and is working with a group of Forrest Personnel staff guided by Brett Coate, General Manager of Business Development. Workshops include Bunbury-based staff and others from remote sites who participate via video link.

Workshop process

At the second of two workshops on 20 January, participants explored the five dimensions of reconciliation: relationships, respect, opportunities, governance and reporting. The team also spent time considering both internal and external stakeholders to the Forrest Personnel process.

A group of workshop participants is standing in front of the Forrest Personnel office

Participants from the 20 January RAP workshop from left: Nina, Brett, Jahna, Joe, Deb, Shay, Donna, Anna and Alexandra. Missing are Alicia from Geraldton and Brodie from Albany

Words from executive leadership

Brett, who has been part of the process from the beginning, said he is really encouraged with how the journey is progressing. When reflecting on the potential organisational impact of a RAP for Forrest personnel, he told us that: “We want to build cultural diversity within our team, and a culturally safe and welcoming environment for our clients across our entire organisation.”

Words of encouragement

Via Instagram, Jahna wrote that: “We love working with your wonderful team. Thank you for all the incredible work you continue to do, and we’re honoured to be a part of it.”

At Forrest Personnel, we’re looking forward to the continuation of our RAP journey, and to sharing progress with our stakeholders.

Feature photo: Wardandi Boodja (detail), 2018, an iconic representation of Wardandi Noongar culture and history on the Bunbury foreshore, by Safehaven Studios with the support of the Wardandi Noongar Community of Bunbury. Photo by Forrest Personnel

Forrest Personnel is a local charity. We specialise in supporting people with health conditions, injuries and disabilities to find and keep jobs.

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