Team up to build up: helping Indigenous communities


Secondees from the government, corporate and philanthropic worlds are helping develop the skills and capacities of Australia’s Indigenous population. Jawun’s Karyn Baylis explains how the model fosters self-determination.

Early this year, an Indigenous policy reform and leadership organisation in Far North Queensland, the Cape York Partnership, launched the Cape York Girl Academy, an independent boarding school for Indigenous mothers aged 13–17.

The first of its kind in Australia, the Girl Academy provides education, accommodation and opportunity for young Indigenous women who have been disengaged from education, training and employment, and it accommodates their babies too.

Playing a key role in its successful launch was Dean Pagonis, a secondee from The Boston Consulting Group, who was placed there by Jawun, an innovative not-for-profit that transfers skilled people from Australia’s leading companies and government agencies into Indigenous organisations.

For its chief executive, Karyn Baylis, this success was just the latest from a conveyor belt of projects large and small, all of which have been designed to deliver much-needed and sustainable improvements for Australia’s Indigenous people. “Ours is a partnership model which emphasises working with Indigenous people, rather than simply providing services to them,” she explains.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.