Supporting diversity and inclusion in Australia

ABB in Australia expanded a program in 2015 to support education opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as part of an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

In the latest project, ABB announced a new partnership in 2015 with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) to support the educational aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. AIME is a proven mentoring and educational program that gives indigenous high school students the skills, opportunities and confidence to finish school and progress to university, training or employment at the same rate as all Australian students.

As well as supporting with funds, ABB is providing AIME with engineering specialists to educate and encourage students to take up careers in the fields of engineering and technology, and offers work experience or apprenticeship opportunities.

The AIME program is active in 340 high schools and 33 university campuses, and there have been outstanding results among indigenous students. In 2013, the Year 9 - 12 completion rate for AIME students was 76 percent – exceeding the national indigenous average of 41 percent and approaching the national non-indigenous average of 81 percent.

"AIME and ABB Australia both share a vision of building a better world for all our kids, and that is why we see this partnership as the perfect fit," said ABB Managing Director, Axel Kuhr. "AIME has proven to dramatically increase the chances of indigenous students completing high school and going on to further education, training or employment.”

ABB is involved in several other efforts to support indigenous people in Australia. For example, for the third consecutive year ABB provided sponsorship support for the Galuwa Engineering and IT Experience program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students, presented by the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

A total of 28 students and three teachers took part in the five-day program in 2015, looking at the opportunities a degree in engineering or IT can provide in different areas of engineering. In addition, young indigenous students with a natural aptitude for mathematics, creative thinking and problem solving, but who are still unsure about career paths, benefit from experiencing what it is like to study engineering. They also learn about the wide range of opportunities that exist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in engineering. “Galuwa means ‘to climb’ in Gadigal language and this is exactly what ABB and UTS wants Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students to do with this innovative and potentially life-changing program,” said Rebecca Roberts, Country Human Resources Manager for ABB in Australia. ABB also contributed to the program by running an interactive session on solar cars and sustainable energy. Students were first introduced to the engineering concepts behind these technologies, then assembled miniature solar cars and operated them using torches. This promoted an appreciation of the practical applications of renewable energy sources.

In 2013, ABB in Australia launched its inaugural three-year Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to advance meaningful opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ABB Australia's RAP not only formalizes the company’s approach to reconciliation, it maps practical steps towards achieving greater awareness and inclusiveness across the organization.