Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) celebrated the achievements of 50 Trainees yesterday during a Graduation Ceremony on Gadigal Country, in Surry Hills, Sydney.

Over the past 23 years, the AES has provided more than 21,000 employment opportunities and 2,500 Traineeships to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in urban, regional, rural and remote locations. The Traineeship program provides coaching and mentoring, an industry recognised qualification, alongside hands-on paid work experience with a host employer across a range of employment sectors and industries.

“The AES Traineeship Program is about empowering young Indigenous people through solid mentoring, strengthening cultural identities, creating big dreams, and providing real employment pathways. Congratulations to these young Indigenous leaders as they start their next chapter in life – strong, proud, skilled and experienced” says AES CEO Kristy Masella.

The Award ceremony also announced GP Synergy Trainee Rhiannan Reid as the winner of this year’s Chairpersons Achievement Award. The candidate is determined by their demonstrated resilience, strength and courage, demonstrated abilities beyond their years, and has gone above and beyond to complete their Traineeship.

“The AES traineeship allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and involved myself with things I thought I could never do. I have learned communication skills and how to express them in a work and non-work environment. I became independent very quickly, made new friends and work colleagues. I also gained confidence in sharing my skills with others in the workplace”, says Rhianna Reid.

The AES Traineeship program is one of the organisation’s most successful initiatives creating significant contributions to employer workplaces and their customer experiences. More than 50% of AES graduated trainees go on to achieve full-time employment with their host employer, while many others go on to undertake university study or further training, or full-time employment with a new employer.

Former 2016 Chairperson Achievement Award winner and 2019 Graduation Ceremony MC Tyrone Pynor reflects on the opportunities his Traineeship has provided for him;

“The first two years with National Australia Bank set me up for success. It was a sense of community. For people to see a 17-year -old Indigenous boy behind the teller felt really good.

The Traineeship gave me so many experiences and connections in the industry. After my graduation, I was fortunate to be offered an opportunity with SBS, and since then it’s been the most-wild ride. I can confidently say that the opportunities that AES gave me made me the person I am today.”

AES currently works with many corporate partners such as GP Synergy, Westpac Group, Wandiyali, Scentre Group, Apprenticeship Support Australia, and Awabakal in delivering Traineeships and Apprenticeships.

Georgina van de Water, Chief Operations Officer from GP Synergy says;

“We see the inclusion of traineeships in an organisation as not only an opportunity for the trainees, but for other team members to benefit through sharing their experiences and skills. The organisation also develops through the diversity our people bring. We see their success as our success.”

AES CEO Kristy Masella adds, “Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use the Traineeships as a stepping-stone to enter diverse career opportunities. These graduates are completing the program with confidence and have high expectations of what they can achieve in their careers. We are so proud of them and the hard work, resilience, and courage they have shown.”

The AES has over 50 new traineeship opportunities available for 2020.


Kristy Masella is available for interviews
High resolution photos are available here.


Marguerite Barbara, Media and Communications Manager at 33 Creative Pty Ltd
p: 02 9516 3466 |m: 0417 692 832 |e: Marguerite@33creative.com.au


AES is the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment service. The AES programs empower Indigenous people through brokering employment opportunities and supporting candidates to have successful careers through mentoring, coaching, training and specialist support.

The AES now operates 13 offices nationally.