Joanne Pellew is an entrepreneur at heart. As a Noongar woman, she is driven to make a difference within the indigenous community by championing employment solutions on a national level. After founding her first business in Broome at the age of 21, Joanne has been involved in indigenous business and affairs ever since.
For the last seven years, Joanne has been dedicated to closing the indigenous unemployment gap, by collaborating with both industry and the indigenous workforce. Her primary business has employed almost 3,000 indigenous people into work through the labour hire and recruitment model, on a purely commercial model and without government funding or assistance.
As a result of that business, Joanne has since built the largest database of indigenous workers in the country. The national footprint developed by Joanne has since contributed to securing commercial contracts with the federal government, State Government and many of the Top 500 companies in Australia.
Joanne founded the Ochre brand in 2010, as the first Indigenous labour hire company servicing the mining industry of WA, owned by a woman. Ochre then went on to diversify as a Registered Training Organisation. At the time, Joanne was the founder of the only Indigenous owned RTO in the country, owned 100% and self-invested by an Indigenous woman, which was started from scratch. The RTO provided industry required training and mentoring programs for those beginning their employment journey. The Pre-employment Unit of Ochre helped to upskill, boost confidence and achieve the required knowledge before entering a new job. It is testament to her passion and dedication to Indigenous employment as the only real game changer for Indigenous people to break the poverty cycle, that she has been able to create these group of private businesses without Government funding or assistance.
The downturn in the mining industry presented challenges for both the indigenous workforce, and employers within the industry. As employers were still required to maintain their indigenous employment quotas, however were unable to engage independent services such as labour hire firms. Joanne identified this gap in the market, and sought about creating the online indigenous job site, iWork Jobsite to meet this need.
Through her tireless work and subsequent success, Joanne has triumphed in shifting the perception of ‘welfare mentality’ which the indigenous employment space had been plagued by. iWork, which is completely self-funded, relies on the drive, determination, and inspiration at the heart of Joanne’s skillset, as well as the eagerness and aspiration of its job-seeking community.
Since pioneering Ochre Brand, Joanne has developed a unique insight into the Australian job market, and has extended her offerings to connect employers directly with indigenous workers. Through iWork, companies are able to fulfil their contractual obligations and responsibilities to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by directly connecting with an ever-expanding network of active job-seekers.
Businesses can now put a more effective and fulfilling investment behind finding indigenous workers. Quite simply, iWork makes it easier to match the indigenous population with keen companies looking for indigenous workers.
In its first 3 weeks of its 2016 launch, iWork received over 10,000 unique visitors to the website without any advertising or marketing campaign. This appetite and eagerness demonstrates how ready the marketplace was for a platform of this kind. Crucially, with the consideration and understanding vital to the success of the platform, iWork was designed to be compatible not only with computers and smartphones, but also with older, pre-paid mobile phones; suiting the diverse nature of the indigenous workers using the site. This innovative approach ensures that disadvantaged job-seekers are included and welcomed within the job-finding process.
Between Ochre People and the iWork Jobsite, Joanne is accessing and assisting in the fight for greater indigenous employment from both sides. Consulting with both platform as well as the innate connection with her own people, Joanne can act as mediator; meeting companies in the middle to uncover and understand the gaps in their workforce. With this information, she can bring these opportunities back to the indigenous community, winning commercial contracts across the corporate world, resources sector and construction industry.
At the core of both Joanne’s personal and professional drive is a desire for positive, genuine change, and the will to make it happen. Through her initiatives, she has empowered companies to be both commercially viable and socially responsible, paving the way to provide employment for the people that really need it.
- Joanne’s audience – 11,000 LinkedIn followers, 14,000 email subscribers
- Over 20,000 highly engaged Indigenous people across Ochre and iWork social media platforms.
- Joanne is appearing across several Indigenous and mainstream media platforms on a regular basis advocating the Indigenous employment and business space.
- Joanne is now being invited to round table discussions by serving Ministers to provide input into Indigenous business and employment policies.
Find out more about iWork at: www.iworkjobsite.com.au
Find out more about Ochre People at: www.ochrepeople.com.au
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