Indigenous Development Program case study banner

Developing Indigenous leaders in Minerals Australia

A successful Indigenous Development Program (IDP), run since FY2015, has helped Minerals Australia progress its goal of developing Indigenous employees for leadership roles.

The program has created career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to move into new roles, including leadership roles, across BHP.

It has proven to be a success; 49 per cent of employees who have completed the program have moved into new roles, and 20 per cent have been promoted into leadership roles.

Research underpinning the program showed that Indigenous employees would benefit from mentoring, more exposure to senior leaders and better access to training.

The program targeted Indigenous employees in entry-level roles. In addition to addressing the opportunities raised through the research, the program helped participants develop or enhance skills in communication, emotional intelligence, project management and business acumen.

Program alumni said they had grown in confidence following the program, with leaders also reporting positive changes in the participants. This has resulted in a strong pipeline of potential participants to take part in future program intakes.

Reflecting on her participation in the program, Dee Clarke, Planner Work Management, said: “The IDP has been one of the most personally rewarding courses I have ever done. It helped me with confidence, resilience and motivation. The program taught us that whatever opportunities came our way, to no longer say ‘no’ or think that we are not good enough. We were exposed to managers, other supervisors and senior leadership and this enabled us to network and further develop skills so that we could create our own opportunities after the course.”

Working towards leadership parity

Following the IDP’s success, in FY2019 BHP created the Indigenous Leadership Program (ILP) to help achieve the leadership parity aspiration of 3 per cent Indigenous representation at manager-level and above across Australia by 2028.

The ILP supports Indigenous leaders to develop their careers and move into higher levels of leadership. The program aims to build capability, provide tools to manage the complexities that come with leadership, learn different leadership models and further develop skills in understanding and using emotional intelligence.

FY2020 course alumni Aaron Keevers, Contract Maintenance Supervisor, said: “The BHP ILP was a very rewarding course for me and the tools and learnings I took away have been invaluable and will help me to go to the next step in my development and career. From our very first day, we were told to be ‘comfortable with the uncomfortable’ – four words that helped change my mind-set.”

Indigenous leaders by role type in Minerals Australia

Role Type





FY2017 to FY2020
 Manager  1 2 2 4 300%
 Superintendent  3 6 15 17 467%
 Supervisor 46  57 68 99 115%
 Total 50 65 85 120 140%