Background: In September 2007, the Australian Government announced funding for the creation of 1,670 ‘real jobs’ to employ Indigenous people in the Northern Territory (NT). The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) was allocated funding for 150 jobs for pastoral and land management activities. The ILC subsequently executed contracts with service providers to meet the Real Jobs Program (RJP) funding target and towards the key objective of transitioning Indigenous people in the NT into ongoing sustainable employment through land management and pastoral work.
In 2014, Sustineo evaluated and summarised the maturation of the RJP. The evaluation focused on assessing the models of program delivery against desired impacts and identified recommendations and innovations to support future improvement to the RJP. This encompassed assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the support provide, funding and models of service delivery with reference to employment achievement, skill development, enterprise development, sustainable land management, and other unexpected outcomes.
Approach: Sustineo approach to the project was based on meaningful and participatory engagement. Underpinning this was respect for and understanding of the social, political and cultural context in which we work and the RJP operated. Based on our experience working in Indigenous communities, the evaluation team designed a mixed-method approach to assess the sustainability, impact, and long-term viability of the RJP. The team undertook an extensive document review, designed and administered a survey, and conducted 19 site visits meeting with 76 different program stakeholders through a participatory engagement process. The evaluation assessed the effectiveness of the Program, and analyse the outputs, outcomes and benefits that have been achieved. The evaluation was conducted collaboratively with the ILC, whose input and validation were included in all evaluation activities to ensure the final evaluation met their expectations and needs.
Outcome: Sustineo provided a comprehensive final evaluation report which identified the core successors, challenges and enablers of the RJP. These factors informed the provision of detailed recommendations to increase value for money, program efficiency and sustainability of the RJP. These key recommendations were noted as being extremely useful for the ILC Board regarding the strategic direction of the program and definition of the parameters of future program guidelines.