First Nations Australian Employment

We have a strong commitment to attracting and recruiting First Nations people into roles at Charles Sturt University, this also extends to retaining and supporting our current First Nations staff, with a focus on enhancing their career opportunities.

Our First Nations Employment Strategy 2024 – 2025 reflects this approach, and the focus areas within it are a result of extensive collaboration with our First Nations networks and our university community.

Through collaboration, we can create a work environment that fosters success and cultural safety, and a workplace of choice for First Nations peoples.

First Nations Employment Strategy 2024 – 2025


Charles Sturt University launched its first Indigenous Australian Employment Strategy in 2005 and held the first Nguluway Conference the same year. We are proud to have maintained and elevated this focus over the last two decades, while acknowledging there is still more to be done to close the gap in employment opportunities and outcomes for First Nations peoples.

Since 2005, new schemes have been explored ranging from First Nations Traineeships to Academic Fellowships and maintaining an employment register for First Nations peoples. The strategy was reviewed and revised in subsequent years to take account of achievements, renew focus and ensure ongoing relevance.

2024 – 2025 Strategy

The 2024 – 2025 strategy builds upon the successes and learnings from previous strategies and has been developed based on extensive consultation with First Nations staff and a broad range of stakeholders across the university, including senior leaders.

Throughout April and May 2023, the First Nations Employment Adviser and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team in the Division of People and Culture facilitated 17 face-to-face and online consultation workshops, supplemented with a comprehensive online survey. The key priority areas and actions included in this strategy emerged from that consultation process.

Now is the time to build on the progress we have made, to drive shared ownership and lasting change.

Key priority areas

> Attract and recruit

We will enhance how we attract and recruit First Nations peoples across the university including in academic, research,  professional and senior positions.

> Develop and progress

We will support our First Nations staff to develop their professional skills and provide opportunities for career pathways and progression.

> Engage and support

We will support our First Nations staff to have a sense of belonging and feel valued through enhanced engagement and support.

Information, resources and support

We're committed to our relationship with First Nations Australian communities. We aim to provide education, employment and research opportunities that support the aspirations of First Nations people.

  • First Nations Staff Network

    The First Nations staff network meets on a monthly basis to communicate and discuss matters affecting First Nations staff across Charles Sturt University. The network is chaired by a First Nations staff member and encourages First Nations staff to contribute to positive outcomes relating to Charles Sturt University.

    The network provides First Nations staff the opportunity to have a united and direct voice to the leaders of the University.

    Please contact Alison Salt, First Nations Employment Adviser to learn more.

  • First Nations Cadetship Program

    What is a First Nations Cadetship? 

    A First Nations Cadetship provides a First Nations student with hands-on paid work experience in a professional area of Charles Sturt that complements their studies. This is on a part time basis, while completing a degree.

    This opportunity aims to enhance the education journey for First Nations students and support First Nations employment at Charles Sturt University.

    What does a First Nations Cadetship involve?

    • Up to 2 years of part-time paid work placement within a professional unit at the University (usually the last 2 years of a degree) totalling 420hrs/year.
    • Duties are determined by the professional area, with support from the First Nations Cadetship Coordinator, they should complement the student’s area of study.
    • How the hours are worked are negotiated between the professional area and the Cadet (with milestones set at the end of each quarter requiring a minimum of 105 hours to be worked).
    • Continuation of the cadetship will be dependent on the student’s course progress and workplace performance.
    • The Cadet's salary is 100% funded by the Division of People and Culture.

    How do Charles Sturt teams get involved and host a First Nations Cadet?

    If you are interested in hosting a cadet, please complete the Host Expression of Interest Form.

    You can also contact Meg Passlow, First Nations Cadetship Coordinator for more information at

  • Nguluway conference

    Nguluway, means ‘to meet with each other’ in Wiradjuri Language, it is the title given to the Charles Sturt University, First Nations Australian Staff Conference.

    Nguluway is an event that supports the development of all First Nations employees. It provides First Nations staff with the opportunity to:

    • Come together to network
    • Develop strategies to support each other in our professional and cultural lives
    • Celebrate our success
    • Hear from guest speakers at cultural information sessions
    • Have a united and direct voice to University leaders

    The date and location of the conference change each time it is delivered. This aims to provide flexibility around other significant events and allow staff to visit different parts of Country and attend different campus locations.

    There is no registration fee to attend, but staff members who register must seek the approval of their budget centre manager for associated travel costs (e.g. accommodation and meals outside of the main conference times).

    Keep an eye out for details as they emerge, but for general enquiries you can contact our First Nations Employment Adviser, Alison Salt.

  • Professional development, employment options & pathways

    Academic and professional development opportunities

    We have study support initiatives that support academic and professional First Nations employees to develop their career.

    Indigenous Language Allowance

    If you're accredited as fluent in a recognised Indigenous Australian language and need to use this language in your role, you may be eligible to receive an Indigenous Language Allowance.

    Refer to the Enterprise Agreement for more information or complete the Indigenous Language Allowance application form.

    To find out more about First Nations education at Charles Sturt, you can also refer to:

  • The First Nations Employment team

    Colour profile photo of Alison Salt who is smiling and looking at the camera.

    Alison Salt, First Nations Employment Adviser

    My role as the First Nations Employment Adviser is responsible for developing and promoting the University’s First Nations Employment Strategy. I provide guidance and advice within the Division of People and Culture and the University in relation to the attraction, retention and development of First Nations Staff.  I assist with establishing links with First Nations Communities and relevant bodies to enhance community awareness and access to employment at Charles Sturt University.

    I provide support to First Nations staff through the facilitation of monthly network meetings and a monthly informal catch-up. I also assist in facilitating a better understanding of First Nations cultures within the University.  Staff will often come to me for guidance when dealing with issues affecting their job satisfaction or sometimes just to have a catch-up.  I also facilitate with the First Nations Staff Network an annual get together called Nguluway. This is an opportunity for First Nations staff to come together and learn new skills and get to know each other face-to-face.

    Learn more about Alison

    Black and white profile photo of Meg Evans who is smiling and looking at the camera.

    Meg Passlow, First Nations Cadetship Coordinator

    As a First Nations Cadetship Coordinator, I am responsible for recruiting and monitoring cadets and host areas while participating in the First Nations Cadetship Program. I work with stakeholders to develop and provide individual support to students throughout their study and employment placement. This involves liaising with Course Directors, line managers, Student Success Advisors, lecturers, referral to other services, and other stakeholders or external services as appropriate.

    By offering the cadetship program at Charles Sturt University I work with staff (host areas) to:

    • Increase the number of First Nations Staff employed, during their employment as a cadet
    • Contribute to the employability skills of First Nations students
    • Become a preferred University for First Nations staff and students by promoting this initiative to the local First Nations community
    • Increase retention of First Nations students during their studies, by supporting them financially.

    Learn more about Meg

  • Campus facilities

    Our First Nations Student Centres are culturally safe study spaces that bring our students together to improve educational outcomes and to provide a connection to other First Nations students, staff and our local communities. They provide First Nations students with access to many resources including computers, internet and printers.

    Centres are located on seven of our campuses, Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo, Goulburn, Orange, Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga.

    Learn more about the Centres at First Nations Student Centres - Current Students.

  • Flexible work

    Charles Sturt strives to create a fair and inclusive workplace including offering flexible work arrangements that help staff to balance their work and life commitments while meeting the operational needs of the University.

    Flexible hybrid, or remote work arrangements may be suitable for staff for a range of reasons, including to help meet cultural, community and family obligations.

    See Workplace flexibility to learn about our guiding principles around staff flexibility and explore what options may be available to you.

  • Leave

    ​In addition to the standard leave entitlements, Charles Sturt provides up to ten days per calendar year of special leave that can be used for a range of reasons including:

    • to meet cultural or religious obligations of significance;
    • for an employee who is a member of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community to meet ceremonial obligations or prepare for or attend National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week functions

    See Leave - People and Culture for further information.

  • Support for First Nations staff

    Mental health, health and wellbeing support

    If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening situation, please:

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

    First Nations staff can access a range of support services including counselling support through our Employee Assistance Program, delivered by Converge International. You can request specific First Nations support when booking an appointment.

    This attachment outlines other culturally safe support options available for staff including the First Nations Helpline.

    External contacts for immediate and urgent support 

    Services that provide immediate and urgent support include:

    Health and wellbeing information and resources

    • Wellmob - Social, emotional and cultural wellbeing online resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
    • ThirriliPractical and emotional support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities impacted or affected following the event of a suicide or traumatic incident causing death | 1800 805 801
    • NACCHO - The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. Includes searchable map to find your nearest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) or Affiliate organisation.

    Legal, justice and advocacy support

    Financial counselling, resources and information

    • Mob Strong Debt Help - Free legal advice and financial counselling service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people | 1800 808 488
    • Money Smart - Finance tips and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

    LGBTIQA+SB support and organisations

    • Black Rainbow - National volunteer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTIA+SB social enterprise to pursue positive health and wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTIA+SB community
    • BlaQ - Peak organisation for Aboriginal Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer + Sistergirl and Brotherboy (LGBTQ+SB) Peoples and Communities in NSW

    Disability support and organisations

    • First Peoples Disability Network - National organisation of and for Australia's First Peoples with disability, their families and communities that us governed by First Peoples with lived experience of disability.
  • First Nations language allowance

    An employee is eligible to receive an allowance where their fluency in a recognised First Nations language is required in the course of their duties. Language fluency may be confirmed via an employee recruitment process or through an application for a language allowance made during the course of employment.

    First Nations Language Allowance application form

    There are two First Nations Language Allowance rates available, based on the employees level of First nations language proficiency. More information can be found in the First Nations Language Allowance Guidelines