ANZSOG’s inaugural Indigenous Churchill Fellowship recipient has been announced as Alphonsus Shields, an Alice Springs-based Senior Constable and General Duties Policeman in the Northern Territory Police.
Mr Shields works as a member of the NT Police’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development Unit. He also represents the NT Police as a member of the Senior Aboriginal Reference Group for the NT Government in Alice Springs. He has West Australian Aboriginal (Nykina) descent through his father, and Torres Strait Islander and Malaysian descent through his mother.
He will use his Fellowship to visit New Zealand, USA and Canada to examine how police services and governments work with First Nations people and observe how different jurisdictions assist Indigenous employees to advance their career.
Mr Shields says that the overseas experience will enable him to create a collegial network and organisational resources for the NT Police to consider, to better manage Indigenous and ethnic minority employees. He said this would develop over time to assist in creating positive change within the NT Police and NT Public Service.
As well as his passion for promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in the workforce, Mr Shields is a proponent of police being proactively involved in the youth sector and has worked in NT Police teams that focus on engagement, education and mentoring of at-risk youths.
Mr Shields has worked widely across the Northern Territory in many remote Aboriginal communities and said he has seen the complexity of the social issues that police face.
“Bush policing can be lonely and isolating but for me it has been the most rewarding part of policing,” he said.
Mr Shields said he has worked on many government-funded programs which often needed a slight ‘tweak’ for local conditions, to make them effective. This has included working collaboratively with several Indigenous organisations in Alice Springs, to establish and foster mentoring programs between cultural elders and youths at risk of entering or re-entering the judicial system.
The Indigenous Fellowship is one of two ANZSOG has created in partnership with The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in Australia and the Churchill Trust in New Zealand. These Fellowships are part of ANZSOG’s commitment to build Indigenous leadership in public services and improve outcomes for Indigenous communities.
The Fellowships are an invaluable opportunity for recipients to gain insights into the practices of their peers working in international jurisdictions, and contribute to Indigenous policy, governance and administration thinking in Australia and New Zealand upon their return.
“We want to play our part in building strong Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori leadership in the public sector,” said ANZSOG Dean and CEO Ken Smith.
“Better representation of Indigenous people at all levels of our public services is essential, if we want to include Indigenous people in policy development and incorporate Indigenous knowledge and culture into the work of government.
“The high number and quality of applications for this Fellowship showed the impact that many Indigenous public servants are already having on agencies across Australia, and the need to keep creating opportunities for them to become leaders.”
Churchill Fellowships are awarded to talented Australians and New Zealanders each year. Recipients travel overseas to meet and work with leaders of influence to gain and exchange knowledge and experience for the advancement of themselves, their industry and the communities they represent.
“The ANZSOG Churchill Fellowship not only aligns with the Trust’s objective to benefit the community but has also helped to increase awareness of the Fellowships to a broader audience nationally,” said Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.