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Artwork by Serika Shillingsworth

Indigenous careers

Join our dynamic and evolving community
Indigenous employment is a key focus for our university. We support our professional and academic staff to realise their career ambitions and encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to consider a career with us.

The University of Sydney is deeply committed to providing a culturally rich and safe environment for all our staff and students. We support our Indigenous professional and academic staff to achieve career success, whatever their background.

We are dedicated to ensuring that every one of our staff and students is accepted and has equal opportunities to gain the best possible employment and education here.

Why should you work with us?

You’ll join a community that is dynamic and career oriented. Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network promotes sharing of experiences, networking and professional support for career development and mentoring. We also provide a generous range of staff benefits, including cultural and ceremonial special leave.

We were the first university in the world to address cultural competence at a whole-of-university level, through the National Centre for Cultural Competence, and our Cultural Competence Leadership Program trains hundreds of University staff to champion and progress that work.

To give our staff and students and external organisations a solid grounding in cultural competence, the centre provides regular face-to-face workshops and online resources.

The University has had a long-term commitment to providing career opportunities for Indigenous people, and we have already made strong progress. From March 2011 to March 2018, we increased our Indigenous staff by 105 percent. By 30 June 2019 our total Indigenous staff reached 106. But there is still more work to do.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategic Framework 2019-21 enables us to build on our achievements to date and focuses on:

  • equity
  • cultural competence
  • capability building
  • engagement and partnership.
  • accountability.

To support our ambition to increase our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff numbers to 75 academic staff and 97 professional staff by June 2021 (as stated in the University's Enterprise Agreement 2018-21), we provide targeted employment, traineeships and internships. For example, our 12-month traineeships combine full-time work with study, and will give you:

  • practical experience in the workplace
  • a formal qualification (Certificate II, III, IV and diploma level)
  • the opportunity to build a network of industry contacts.

Our Indigenous Internship Program gives students 10 weeks of valuable work experience related to the degree that they are studying.

Our Indigenous staff and alumni have advanced the rights and recognition of Aboriginal peoples in Australia for many years.

In 1966 Dr Charles Nelson Perkins AO became the first Aboriginal man to graduate from a university in Australia. While studying at Sydney he led the 1965 Freedom Ride, which saw a group of University students tour to rural towns in New South Wales to protest discrimination faced by Aboriginal people in outback communities. 

In 1993, Aboriginal linguist and University graduate Jakelin Troy published The Sydney Language (PDF, 225KB). This ground-breaking work is regarded as the world’s most comprehensive word list of the Sydney language published and accepted by the Aboriginal community.

Fellow alumnus Jack Manning Bancroft established AIME, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience in Redfern in 2005. This innovative volunteer program was set up to close the gap in education. It has now seen more than 15,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students and 5000 university students pass through its doors. 

Meet some of our Indigenous staff

Lisa Jackson Pulver

Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver AM
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services)

Lisa is a Koori woman whose people have hailed from South Western NSW, Eastern South Australia, Far North Coast NSW and across the seas to Scotland and Wales. She is a public health epidemiologist, a demography aficionado and a self-confessed data geek. She holds positions on the Australian Medical Council, the Health Performance Council and the Australian Statistical Advisory Council. She serves her country in the Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve. 

Andrew Bacon

Andrew Bacon
Senior Compliance Officer, Campus Infrastructure and Services (CIS)

Andrew is a Yamatji Man from the Murchison/Gascoyne country in central Western Australia. As a senior member of the CIS team he manages the development, implementation, training and maintenance of a Compliance Framework and Register in consultation with senior executive staff and divisional management. Andrew is also a Community Presenter with the Black Dog Institute, where he delivers mental health awareness presentations nationwide.

Michael Doyle

Dr Michael Doyle
Research Fellow, Aboriginal alcohol and other drug use and treatment research

Michael is a Bardi person from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. He has worked in Aboriginal health for more than 20 years, commencing his career as an Aboriginal Health Worker at the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service. Michael has also worked at Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute, then at UNSW Sydney’s Kirby Institute. He is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Sydney.

Traditional custodians of the land

The University of Sydney acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which it operates.  The campuses, clinical and research facilities are situated on the ancestral lands of the Gadigal, Wangal, Deerubbin, Dharug, Kamilaroi, Wiljali, Tharawal, Bundjalung,  Kur-ing-gai, Cammeraygal and Wiradjuri peoples.*

Gadigal (Cadigal) – Sydney, Darlington, Camperdown

Camperdown Campus, Darlington Campus, Surry Hills Campus, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Central Clinical School

Deerubbin – Nepean, Penrith

Nepean Clinical School

Dharug (Dharuk) – Westmead

Westmead Campus, Westmead Clinical School, Children’s Hospital Westmead Clinical School

Kamilaroi (Gamilaraay) – Narrabri

Plant Breeding Institute

Wiljali (Wilyakali) – Broken Hill

Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health (BHUDRH)

Wangal – Concord, Balmain, Rozelle, Lidcome

Concord Clinical School, Sydney College of the Arts, Cumberland Campus

Tharawal (Dharawal) – Camden

Camden Campus

Bundjalung (Badjelang)  – Lismore

University Centre for Rural Health

Kur-ing-gai  – Wahroonga

Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical School

Cammeraygal - St Leonards

Northern Clinical School

Wiradjuri – Dubbo/Orange

School of Rural Health

*The information used in the table above is sourced from the local Aboriginal Land Councils who hold the cultural authority of the areas named.

Facts & figures

Indigenous staff snapshot

  • 105% increase in Indigenous staff from 2011 to 2018
  • 106 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff as at 30 June 2019
  • 38 permanent and fixed term academic staff positions
  • 1.02% Proportion of staff who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people