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Coles keeps focus on Indigenous employment

In 2011, Coles launched its first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander plan, with a vision to represent the communities it serves. At the time, Coles had 65 Indigenous team members. The Coles plan outlined a target to have a workforce with three per cent Indigenous representation – approximately 3,000 team members – by 2020.


Since then, and with a focus on cultivating a deeper understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in its everyday business and building mutual respect and understanding amongst all team members, Coles has developed new programs to build the number of Indigenous employees.


The success of these programs is starting to gain traction, and over the past 12 months Coles has hired more than 1,100 new Indigenous team members. This brings the total number of Indigenous team members working in Coles' supermarkets, hotels, liquor outlets, convenience stores, distribution centres and store support centres across Australia to more than 2,300. This significant progress means Coles is now expecting to reach its target well before 2020.


Coles was awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2015 Human Rights Business Award in recognition of its ‘First Steps’ employment program. First Steps is a pre-employment and mentoring program which provides guaranteed permanent part-time roles for people who require additional support to enter or re-enter the workforce.