Harmony Day 2022: Perth Mint celebrates belonging and diversity
Gold Corporation, trading as The Perth Mint, continues to drive diversity in the workplace, with more than a third of employees coming from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
This year’s national Harmony Day theme ‘Everyone Belongs’, is particularly poignant for The Perth Mint executive administrator Alejandra, who arrived in Perth in June 2021.
The former English teacher, along with her husband and two children, fled Venezuela in 2016 due to the deteriorating political, economic and social crisis, were granted asylum in Trinidad and Tobago three months later when their tourist visa ran out and finally found freedom in Perth five years later.
Moving to Perth and finding employment at The Perth Mint has given Alejandra a renewed sense of belonging. The family was among about six million people to escape Venezuela in one of the largest displacements of people in the western hemisphere
Alejandra started working at The Perth Mint as an executive administrator in November 2021: “To be seen as a refugee is like a stigma for me. I just want to be seen as Alejandra,” she said.
“…I also like that I feel welcome here, I don't feel discriminated against, I don’t feel like a fish out of the bowl. I feel part of it, and this is something I was longing to get for almost five years since I left my country. I wanted to belong to somewhere.”
Fleeing Venezuela was something she will never forget: “It’s like you go to the 10th floor and then you fall, free fall. Just like that, it’s a free fall.”
To also assist employees to feel like they belong, The Perth Mint has run an English literacy program since December 2020, with 32 employees completing 4000 hours of complimentary English lessons to support safety and cultural outcomes.
Group Manager Organisational and Cultural Development Kristen Potter said the lessons, which were held onsite during work hours, had improved inclusivity and helped employee’s ability to understand safety instructions and corporate communications.
“We implemented the English program because of concerns raised by managers that some employees may not understand safety instructions due to limited literacy levels. They were also being excluded from communications and conversations due to varying levels of literacy.
“Seven employees are currently active in the program, attending two two-hour lessons per week for a total of 250 hours each. A further 10 employees have completed 150 hours each and 15 employees completed 50 hours each.”
“The languages they speak have been quite diverse including Burmese, Cantonese, Hazaragi, Hindi, Korean, Malayalam, Mandarin, Persian, Thai and Vietnamese.”
The Perth Mint Acting Chief Executive Officer Jane King said with 35% out of The Mint’s 500-strong workforce speaking a language other than English, the literacy program was key in fostering this diversity, which the Mint is also celebrating this Harmony Day.
“Our workforce is 50/50 male and female, with employees from around the world given the opportunity to work in non-traditional gender roles. We aim to create an environment where our people can bring their whole selves to work and we’re always looking for ways we can do more.
“We are committed to helping our employees succeed both at work and beyond, and the popularity of our tremendously successful English literacy program is a continuation of our historic support of WA communities.
“As part of The Perth Mint’s vision is to be the sustainability benchmark in the precious metals industry not just in WA, but all over the world, it is fitting that we not only celebrate Harmony Day but support all the different cultures among our workforce every day.”
This year The Perth Mint will also celebrate Harmony Day’s theme of ‘Everyone Belongs’ with a series of culturally-inspired, empty patterned canvas artworks spread throughout its premises, for employees to collaborate on creatively until complete.
(Left to right) Officer Talent Acquisition Diversity and Inclusion Riaana Raywood, Executive Administrator Alejandra Larez Velasquez and Group Manager Organisational and Cultural Development Kristen Potter.
About The Perth Mint
One of the world’s leading precious metals enterprises, The Perth Mint:
- Processes almost 10 per cent of annual global gold production and the vast bulk of gold mined in Australia, with Australia being the world’s second largest producer of gold after China.
- Operates one of the largest and most efficient precious metals refineries in the world, with capacity to process 800 tonnes of gold and 1000 tonnes of silver per annum.
- Provides the world’s only government guaranteed precious metals storage program and range of investment solutions.
- Safeguards wealth worth almost $6 billion for clients, ranging from central banks and sovereign wealth funds to individuals, in its central bank grade vaults.
- Manufactures and delivers a wide range of precious metal bars and coins worth in excess of $26.35 billion to more than 130 countries annually.
- The Perth Mint’s popular gold tours run daily and include viewing opportunities of ‘King Henry’, ‘The Karratha Queen’ and the Guinness World Record-holding One-Tonne Gold Coin.
The Perth Mint welcomes AUSTRAC outcome
Gold Corporation, trading as The Perth Mint, has voluntarily entered an Enforceable Undertaking with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).