Senior Constable Alphonsus Shields has been named as ANZSOG’s inaugural Indigenous Churchill Fellowship recipient.
Shields is a General Duties Policeman in the Northern Territory Police’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development Unit, and is a member of the Senior Aboriginal Reference Group for the NT government.
With West Australian Aboriginal (Nykina), Torres Strait Islander, and Malaysian heritage, Shields is passionate about promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in the workforce and engaging with youth.
He has worked on a number of government-funded programs with Indigenous organisations in Alice Springs that provide mentoring programs between cultural elders and youths at risk of entering or re-entering the judicial system. He said such programs have often needed a slight local “tweak” to make them effective.
The Indigenous Fellowship was created by ANZSOG in partnership with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in Australia and the Churchill Trust in New Zealand, to build Indigenous leadership in public services and improve outcomes for Indigenous communities.
Recipients have the chance to travel overseas to meet and work with leaders, and gain knowledge and experience to benefit themselves, their industry and the communities they represent. The experience contributes to Indigenous policy, governance and administration thinking in Australia and NZ.
Shields said he will use his Fellowship to visit NZ, USA, and Canada to look at how police services and governments work with First Nations people and how different jurisdictions help Indigenous employees advance their career. He said the experience would create areas of consideration for the NT Police in better managing Indigenous and ethnic minority employees. He said this would gradually help create positive change within the NT Police and NT Public Service.
ANZSOG Dean and CEO Ken Smith said the high number of applications to the Fellowship showed the impact that Indigenous public servants are having on agencies across Australia.
“We want to play our part in building strong Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori leadership in the public sector,” he said.
“Better representation of Indigenous people at all levels of our public services is essential, if we want to include Indigenous people in policy development and incorporate Indigenous knowledge and culture into the work of government.”
Applications for the next Fellowship round opens 1 February 2020.