Employment & Training Updates

Employment & Training Updates

Outback Stores finished the financial year 2021 with 87% of team members employed in community stores identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI). This equates to 283 people in remote communities engaged in real jobs. Identifying and supporting aspiring leaders by building career pathways to management through Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a core objective of the company.

We continue to lead our industry in providing a relevant, interactive and culturally appropriate learning experience for our team. Recently Alma Ngalmi was promoted as the first Indigenous retail trainer at Outback Stores with fantastic results. Alma was  formally recognised as a finalist in the 2021 NT Training Awards – ATSI Student of the Year.

We are working towards more Indigenous people being able to train and mentor others living in remote communities. To that end, Dotty Repu from Maningrida has gained accreditation as a qualified retail trainer and is also now working in this capacity.
We continue to work with partner organisations such as Charles Darwin University by placing graduates into work placements and permanent employment opportunities in our Darwin Support Office.

A trial of school-based retail traineeships will take place in 2022 across Ngukurr, Santa Teresa, and Ali Curung communities. This will see a select number of students complete a Certificate I in Retail as part of their high school education with the goal of transitioning into employment post-graduation.

Recently 24 trainees completed a nationally accredited retail qualification. Nine of these qualifications were Certificate IV in Retail Management, the highest level that Outback Stores offers as a recognised training organisation. All nine trainees had previously completed either a Certificate II, III, or both. This highlights a positive trend of engaged and committed staff in remote communities creating a career pathway through on-the job learning and VET.

To assist with the recovery from the impact of COVID-19, the Australian Government is providing wage subsidies for 12 months to all employers who engage a new Australian apprentice or trainee between 5 October 2020 and 31 March 2022. This initiative has been well received and encouraged strong participation from store and support office staff.


Story first published in the Outback Stores 2021 Annual Report.

Spotlight on Audrey Inkamala

Spotlight on Audrey Inkamala

From the front cover of our latest Annual Report… introducing Audrey Inkamala!

Audrey was born and raised in Engawala, a small community 180km north-east of Alice Springs. She speaks Arrernte, Western Arrernte, Alyawarr/Anmatyerr, as well as English.

Audrey has worked at the store for six years, and last year joined the store’s board of directors, who this year have been tackling the problem of diabetes in the community. The directors decided to reduce soft drink bottles to a maximum of 600ml, as well as introduce ‘Sugar-Free Wednesdays’ to the store. She was interviewed about this sugar-reduction strategy for a video series by Monash University called HEALTHY STORiES = GOOD FOOD.

“At first people didn’t like it, but as store workers, we told them it’s better for our health, so they understood,” said Audrey.

On the occasions when the store manager is called away from the community, Audrey steps into the role of store supervisor.

“Audrey can keep the store running if I am away, including ensuring that the school nutrition programme meals are done, opening and closing the store, and the daily reporting requirements,” said Emma Skyba, current store manager at Engawala.

Audrey has completed her Certificate IV in Retail Management and is hoping to one day take on the role of store manager, with the help of the local women in the community.

Audrey has a three-year-old daughter and says “I want my daughter growing up to see that working is better than sitting at home all day, bored”.



First published in the Outback Stores 2021 Annual Report.