Three employees

Creating Opportunities

We are taking important steps to grow our Indigenous leadership, helping us better understand and work with host communities in the future. By having strong Indigenous leaders in place, we can ensure Indigenous voices are heard on cultural heritage matters and broader issues – right across our business.

In Australia, we have committed $50 million over five years to attract, retain and grow Indigenous leaders, and we have increased the number of Australian Indigenous leaders in our business fivefold since November 2020. We have also identified further candidates for future opportunities through a targeted Indigenous talent management and selection program.

Supporting students to achieve their potential

For more than a decade we have partnered with Indspire, an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. Indspire provides financial awards, delivers programs and shares resources so that Indigenous students achieve their highest potential.

In 2021, we renewed our partnership with the Breakfast Club of Canada with C$750,000 over three years to provide nutritious meals to over 4,000 students in 18 Indigenous schools in British Columbia and Quebec.

We also established an institutional research structure dedicated to the indigenisation of higher education through a C$1.5 million partnership with Universite du Quebec a Chicoutimi. The structure will be established in collaboration with several Indigenous communities and will focus, among other things, on training the next generation of Indigenous scientists.

Our leaders talk about our commitment to Indigenous leadership in our Australian business
  • Indigenous development programs - Australia
  • Graduate and vacation student programs

Indigenous development programs – Australia

Indigenous Leadership Development Program

This program supports our Indigenous employees to accelerate the transition to higher roles within our business and bridge any development gaps.

It is available for people either leading teams or pursuing a more technical discipline and is tailored to suit each person’s specific career aspirations. The program can include access to one of our university partnerships to fast-track tailored learning to help employees secure qualifications for their next role, or placement in another role or operation to develop core business and leadership skills.


We’re proud to have partnered with the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to deliver the RioInspire program which is a first of its kind, blending Indigenous knowledge and practices with best-practice leadership research. It's a globally recognised framework that focuses on developing executive-ready Indigenous future leaders who will have an influential role in shaping the future not only our business and Indigenous Australia, but all Australia.

This partnership has enabled us to develop a program specifically for Rio Tinto Indigenous leaders. It incorporates Rio Tinto’s ways of working, including our values and business priorities. Upon completion, participants receive an AGSM Certificate of Executive Management Development.

More than 30 Indigenous leaders have participated in RioInspire since the program launched in 2021

Two-way mentoring program

One of the key findings of the recent Board review into cultural heritage management highlighted our need to transform our work culture to better reflect our values.

Our two-way mentoring program presents an important opportunity for our senior leaders in Australia to offer career advice to our Indigenous talent, while gaining a better understanding of some of the challenges faced by our Indigenous employees. The program is helping build a culture of understanding across our organisation and foster connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees.

In 2021, 76 Indigenous employees paired with senior leaders participated in our two-way mentoring program across our Australia-based business to deepen cross-cultural understanding and responsiveness.

Graduate and vacation student programs

It is part of our strategy to accelerate opportunities for Indigenous professionals, providing them mentoring and opportunities for career growth. We work closely with the Graduate Talent at Rio Tinto to attract and recruit Indigenous talent for Graduate and Vacation Student Programs. Graduates and vacation students will be placed at a variety of locations across our Australian operations and hubs, including the Pilbara, Perth, Brisbane, Yarwun and Weipa.

Related downloads

Indigenous Leadership Program - Graduate Info Sheet
1.08 MB
Rio Tinto Indigenous Scholarship 2023
291 KB
Rio Tinto Indigenous Cadetship 2023
285 KB
Indigenous Employee Newsletter
734 KB

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