EPIC Assist acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present, and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of the lands on which we work. We recognise the continuation of cultural, spiritual, and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
EPIC Assist is committed to the reconciliation journey within Australia. Our vision is to make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are vulnerable and/or encounter barriers to employment.
We aim to work towards building stronger relationships, respect, and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our organisation believes in the Reconciliation Australia vision where everyone wakes to a reconciled, just, and equitable Australia.
First Nations art
EPIC Assist is privileged to engage with Aboriginal artist and proud Mayi woman, Leah Cummins, to communicate the history, story, vision, and mission of our organisation.
Leah draws inspiration from her cultural identity and uses her art to bring stories of her country and people to life. Her father is Mayi (Mayi-Kulan) from the Mayi-speaking tribes of north-western Queensland and her mother is Kalkadoon from Mt Isa.
“I pay respects to the ancestors who give me these stories in my creativity to share my culture that transcends words and draws people into wanting to learn about First Nations people.” – Leah Cummins
Ngana Yanda Ngalingali (A Connected Journey)
This piece tells the story of EPIC Assist: the journey to connect with community and provide support to return people with disability their confidence, strength, and independence.
In the centre is EPIC Assist, represented as a gathering of people coming together to work towards common goals and aspirations. The background represents the land.
“May we always connect with land and sea to replenish our spirit.” – Leah Cummins
The yellow lines travelling outwards from the centre are journey lines. These lines are the paths EPIC Assist takes to connect with community. They link EPIC’s centre to six elements which each represent different components of building trust and connection.
“Bun-ya” (woman) “bun-jil” (man): an individual who connects to EPIC Assist and uses our services.
“Coola-mon”: people meeting around the coolamon. One-on-one connection with a person is a symbol of care and a way of letting them know they matter. Listening to and hearing their stories builds trust.
“Bora”: a shared common Indigenous word for a meeting circle or ground. This symbol is used to share with others that this is a meeting place. A place of celebrating and meeting is important to bring true reconciliation of many people from different backgrounds.
“Yan-da” (large group) community: people coming together to sit with one another. EPIC Assist demonstrates this every day when they help care and provide services to the community.
Young and old: passing down knowledge. Sharing this knowledge is a way of ensuring the younger generation can grow into amazing human beings and be strong and independent.
This symbol represents the past people who have come before us: our ancestors. They are important in guiding us in a direction that has build strength and resilience.
Our strategy for reconciliation
EPIC celebrates diversity. As we develop our inclusive workforce our objective is to have a pool of experience and talent that is representative of the communities we serve.
The EPIC Assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy focuses on recruitment and retention strategies for Aboriginal as well as for Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We’re committed to providing support mechanisms that are appropriate for Aboriginal as well as Torres Strait Islander employees. These may include peer support networks as well as the flexibility to meet cultural obligations and attend significant cultural and community events. Our work environments are supportive, appropriate, and culturally sensitive and respect and value kinship rules for compassionate leave.
As part of our strategy towards reconciliation, EPIC Assist employs an Aboriginal Liaison Officer to support, mentor, and guide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and participants.
Our Aboriginal Liaison Officer is committed to creating linkages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. They provide invaluable input and insights on professional development, training, professional standards, ethics, customs, family structure, and culture and how they relate to Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples.
EPIC Assist is proud to have Reverend Jenny Thompson on EPIC’s Board of Directors. As a respected Aboriginal Elder, Reverend Jenny has been instrumental in providing cultural clinical support to the sector over the course of her career.
“I see myself as an advocate for people with disability and am proud to help build a more equal and respectful society, which recognises and celebrates what people with disability have to offer.” – Reverend Jenny Thompson.
Reverend Jenny is a Deacon of the Anglican Church and a counsellor with over 30 years’ experience. Her career has focused on emotional release therapy, grief and loss counselling, play therapy, suicide intervention, and sexual assault counselling. Reverend Jenny is also a Mental Health clinician and has worked in the child and youth mental health service for over 13 years.
Reverend Jenny has delivered numerous workshops on social and emotional wellbeing to families and communities and facilitated training sessions on counselling and case management.
EPIC partnered with Yilay to connect with Aboriginal artist Leah Cummins to create EPIC’s journey told through art. This artwork was then brought to life by Yilay on polo shirts for all staff members.
Yilay uses Indigenous artwork as an educational and engagement tool to help educate corporates and mainstream Australia on Indigenous values, beliefs, cultural practices, and protocols.
Yilay is a 100% owned and operated Indigenous business, utilising the knowledge passed down from their ancestors to help communicate and engage clients and the wider community. They’re committed to maintaining a professional standard whilst always valuing their cultural integrity and commitment to the Indigenous community.
Supporting First Nations peoples with disability
Our disability employment services are committed to holistically supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with disability on their employment journey.
At EPIC, we understand that finding a job you love can be hard. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with disability, the barriers to employment can be even higher.
Research shows that Indigenous Australians are less likely to be employed than non-Indigenous Australians. This gap is even larger for Indigenous Australians with a disability, injury, mental health condition, or health condition.
Over the last 30 years, our disability employment services have supported many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with disability to prepare, find, and keep a job they love. We believe that understanding and educating ourselves on the individuals we are supporting is paramount. For this reason, all our staff complete annual training on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.