Yarn Up Tok Blo Yumi (Talk Belongs to You and Me)

Choosing an authentic Cultural Capability Program

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the lived experience, strengths and attributes which places them perfectly to choose the education, health and community services sectors as a career path.

Organisations are becoming more and more aware of the importance of providing an inclusive workplace – for both their team and their clients. Not only is this good for organisational culture, it’s socially responsible and economically sensible. Reconciliation Action Plans are drivers to keep us on track to achieve the outcomes that we want in terms of closing the gap. Organisations are continually growing, shrinking and changing; people come and go and work requirements changes. This means that it’s useful to continually reflect on cultural capability, identify any areas of weakness and to engage workforce development providers to deliver programs where necessary.

Organisations have many choices for the delivery of cultural capability programs; delivery approaches may include online, face to face, community of practice sessions or facilitated conversations. There are also a wide variety of teaching and delivery approaches to choose from. There is a wide body of evidence showing that as adults we learn best when we are engaged in challenging experiences, i.e. we’re ‘stretched’ by our learning, have opportunities to practice and reflect on our experiences and are engaged in creative and challenging conversations.

In terms of a cultural capability program, this is particularly important because deep reflection is essential in supporting participants to identify their own biases and assumptions. A safe environment, free of judgement – where deep conversations can take place – is essential in supporting us to get to the heart of the issues of our country’s history and the impacts that still affect our people, workplaces and communities today.

It is also important to remember Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not one homogenous group. So whichever cultural capability program you engage with, it’s best to ensure that is facilitated with or supported by local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Elders or community leaders who will provide the context and stories of their people and their Country.

Here are some questions to consider when choosing your provider and delivery method:

Do they have existing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities?

Are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples involved in the development and delivery of the program?

Is the program contextualised to the local people and Country?

Is the program delivered in partnership with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders or community leaders?

Can the provider share feedback from previous users of their program?

Does the learning delivery style support conversation, learning from others and deep reflection that inspires continuous learning?

Can the program be contextualised to meet the needs of specific organisations?

Yarn Up Tok Blo Yumi (Talk Belongs to You and Me) is Workforce Council’s cultural capability program and it ticks all of the above boxes. The program has been developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people and co-facilitated by an Aboriginal woman in partnership with traditional custodians of the land on which it’s being delivered. Yarn Up Tok Blo Yumi has been delivered across Queensland for 10 years to thousands of participants – ask us about accessing references from past participants and organisations.

Our next program will be delivered in Townsville on 22-23 November and we would love you to join us. Find out more here. We can also deliver Yarn Up Tok Blo Yumi specially for your organisation or group.

​Ref: Learning and Growing Through Professional Development, 2008, PSC Alliance