World Day for Safety and Health at Work is celebrated annually on the 28th April. It serves to explore the topic of a safe and healthy work environment as a fundamental principle and right at work. To celebrate, we speak with Joanne Bani, Human Resources Manager at the National University of Vanuatu. Joanne is an Australia Awards graduate with a Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations from Victoria University.
Joanne began working in human resources after completing an undergraduate degree in Industrial Relations, Public Administration and Management. Joanne explains ‘I soon realised the challenges that arise when working with a diverse range of people and queries, particularly the injustices experienced by women and minority groups. I felt that specialising in human resources with a Master degree would enable me to develop a broader depth of knowledge to advocate in these spaces more effectively‘.
The National University of Vanuatu (NUV) was established in 2019 and Joanne began working there soon after. Joanne’s expertise has been instrumental to the overall development and implementation of policies, the recruitment process, and assisting senior management on best practice within NUV.
When asked how to best promote the fundamental right to a safe and healthy working environment, Joanne further explains: ‘it is about creating a culture of safety that is fostered by everyone, particularly those in positions of management; when leaders have a vested interest, it models a collective approach‘. Joanne also sees great benefit in providing employees with opportunities to actively engage with wellbeing in the workplace, considering individual needs and tailoring these opportunities accordingly.
Joanne has long been a champion of workers’ rights and this remains at the forefront of her decision-making approach and she is also a member of the Australia Human Resources Institute, something she pursued whilst completing her Master degree. Joanne has remained informed and abreast of the latest industry developments, providing her with a framework which safeguards employees.