IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has launched the Australian hospitality industry’s strongest commitment to equal opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to date, becoming the first hotel company to establish a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
In doing so, IHG has established the 201st RAP to be recognised and endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, the independent national body created to foster reconciliation through strong relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and other Australians. IHG’s RAP is one of only two such commitments within Australia’s AU$33 billion tourism industry, the other being held by QANTAS.
With Reconciliation Australia’s support and encouragement, IHG has set a target of having 2% of its total workforce in Australia made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by 2013. This target is just one of many undertakings that make up IHG’s holistic approach to closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
IHG RAP outlines the journey toward that commitment, and the partners who will play a role in providing education, training, employment and business opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities, in and around IHG’s Australian businesses.
Included in this journey will be the creation of new training, education and employment opportunities at every InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotel across Australia. The plan outlines partnerships with job network and registered training providers, Native Title representative bodies, community groups to assist with meeting its commitments.
The plan also incorporates opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in IHG’s international I-Grad and Emerging Leaders programs for high-potential trainees and employees.
The endeavours outlined in IHG’s RAP were developed out of the collective experience of more than a decade working with communities in and around Kakadu in the Northern Territory, where IHG operates Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn, Gagudju Lodge Cooinda and Yellow Water Cruises on behalf of the traditional landowners. It is here that IHG chose to introduce its national RAP, presenting the commitments to the people of Kakadu.
“As the world’s largest hotel group, we have both responsibility and opportunity to make significant contributions to the communities within which we operate. In Australia, reconciliation is a key part of this commitment,” said IHG chief operating officer Australasia, Bruce McKenzie.
“We believe that responsible business requires contribution to reducing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. To that end, we’re now in our second decade of close partnerships with the communities of Kakadu and providing training, employing and other business opportunities.
“With the RAP and working with Reconciliation Australia and other partners, we now have the framework and resources to expand this experience into a national commitment.”
Core to IHG’s RAP is the establishment of close relationships with communities in areas where it conducts its business, which includes 35 hotels, resorts and other tourism operations in every state and territory of mainland Australia. It also sets clear timelines and targets for the expansion of its traineeship, education and employment programs and partnerships.
IHG’s progress will be regularly monitored internally by IHG’s RAP working group and externally by Reconciliation Australia, providing the hotel company with opportunities to benchmark against other best-practice employers.
“IHG’s decision to frame its plan for creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a RAP not only demonstrates the depth of its commitment to reconciliation, it also sets a clear challenge for an industry that employs close to one million people in Australia,” said Reconciliation Australia director, Tom Calma.
“Having a company of IHG’s size, scale and international reputation make this level of commitment sends a powerful message to other hospitality companies. It also places IHG within a select community of businesses, government agencies and other organisations that have established their own RAP, and clearly positions the company as one of Australia’s best and most progressive employers.”
Bruce McKenzie has expressed excitement at the possibilities set to arise from rollout of IHG’s national RAP.
“IHG aims to become one of the world’s great companies. Today’s events, and the subsequent rollout of our Reconciliation Action Plan, are a critical step toward achieving that ambition.”
For more information on career opportunities at IHG, visit www.ihg.com/careers.