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08 Nov 2016


Mentoring highlights career options for young former refugee

Kane Alkoraghooli is receiving career support from an SSI Youth@Work mentor.

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M: 0487 680 207

Twenty-two-year-old Mr Alkoraghooli studied IT in Syria, but when the country’s civil war forced him to seek refuge in Australia 18 months ago, he found himself dealing with new employment and educational choices.

“We had trouble with settling at first which made it harder for me to plan what to study or what to aim for in my career,” he said. “After a while, I started looking into my options and feeling more settled than before. I started doing a building design course in TAFE and I also volunteered with SSI.”

When his volunteering resulted in a job offer, Mr Alkoraghooli jumped at the opportunity and now works in the SSI team that introduces refugees to their new homes.

“It gives you some kind of a motivation – that I’m now doing what someone else did for me,” he said.

Through his work with SSI, Mr Alkoraghooli also found out about Youth@Work – a flexible mentoring program that connects experienced professionals with young workers of migrant and refugee backgrounds. Participants are supported for up to six months, during which time young workers are supported to overcome employment barriers and identify and work towards long-term career goals.

In Mr Alkoraghooli’s case, he was paired with an experienced retired business analyst who has a wealth of experience in the IT sector and a keen interest in community services.

While it’s still early days, Mr Alkoraghooli has already developed a strong connection with his mentor and is confident the Youth@Work program will help him to learn more about how to achieve his career goals.

“I’d like to get my mind straight about what I want to do in the future,” he said. “Every industry has things you’d only know about if you worked there for a few years. These things can be taught easily if you have someone who has experience in this field that they’re willing to pass on to younger people.”

While Mr Alkoraghooli’s career aspirations are still a work in progress, he has his sights set on business services, administration or management.

“I’m looking forward to finding out about the experience that my mentor has had and the different things they’ve done. That kind of information helps you to decide whether you want to pursue a career like that or not.”

Youth@Work is currently open to young people of refugee or migrant backgrounds who are interested in getting one-on-one support and advice to help them reach their employment goals.

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