Flinders University’s work to support Indigenous employees has earned them a prestigious SAGE Cygnet Award.

Flinders is the first university in South Australia to earn the Award, which recognises actions taken by institutions to improve equity, diversity and inclusion.

The Cygnet Award recognises Flinders’ work to foster an inclusive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, reducing barriers preventing them from taking up roles and promotions at the university, building a culture of respect and inclusion, and cultivating opportunities for First Nations staff members.

These actions have made a significant impact on Indigenous staff attraction and retention. From 2017 to 2023, Flinders University has seen the representation of Indigenous staff increase from 0.7% to 2.53%. Their goal is to achieve a 3% target by 2025.

SAGE CEO Dr Janin Bredehoeft commended Flinders on its leadership in the education sector.

“Flinders’ interventions have resulted in tangible improvements in the experiences of First Nations employees, and we applaud their commitment to identifying and addressing areas for improvement.”

Targeted initiatives for change

At the heart of this accomplishment are a number of targeted initiatives designed to attract, retain, and develop Indigenous talent, including the implementation of two Reconciliation Action Plans, the enactment of an Indigenous Workforce Strategy, and the establishment of robust governance mechanisms dedicated to overseeing Indigenous strategies.

Their application for the Award, detailing their actions and the outcomes and impacts made on the Indigenous staff community, is published in full on the SAGE website.

First Nations workplace inclusion an ongoing priority

Professor Colin Stirling, Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University, emphasized the significance of the Cygnet Award as a testament to the University’s progress and acknowledged that there is yet more work to be done.

“We understand the importance of leading by example as an institution of higher learning, and this award recognises the dedication of Flinders’ staff to significantly increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation at our university,” Professor Stirling said.

“The talented and committed Indigenous staff who are contributing to our institution will inspire future generations and instigate lasting change.”

Professor Simone Ulalka Tur, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) at Flinders University, commended the institution for its unwavering commitment to the sustainability of Indigenous employment, by prioritising the recruitment and retention of Indigenous staff.

“Flinders is dedicated to providing opportunities as well as contributing to the long-term advancement and self-determination asserted by Indigenous staff,” she said.

The Cygnet Award builds on Flinders’ 2019 Bronze Award accreditation under the Athena Swan framework.