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Settlement Services International (SSI) CEO Violet Roumeliotis has described Allianz Australia winning the annual Human Rights Business Award as a triumph for partnerships between business and humanitarian organisations seeking to support vulnerable members of the community.

The Human Rights Awards, presented by the Australian Human Rights Commission at an event in Sydney on December 8, is the pinnacle of human rights recognition in Australia.

The Business Award recognises and celebrates a corporation that promotes and advances human rights in the Australian community.

Allianz, through a partnership with SSI, established an innovative Sustainable Employment Program aimed at building a diverse and inclusive workforce, creating employment opportunities and support for refugees and migrants with whom SSI works.

Since it was launched, the program has provided 18 employment opportunities for participants with a range of diverse talents, cultural backgrounds and disciplines, including business, accounting and finance, data science, audit and customer service.

Allianz also created SSI Allianz Scholarships to improve education and employment opportunities for refugees.

Through these initiatives, Allianz is advancing the human rights of some of the most vulnerable groups in our society as well as contributing to community cohesion.

Ms Roumeliotis, who was recently named the 2017 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year, said, “Allianz understands that to have a strong, resilient and vibrant community in Australia requires diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace.

“This can be seen in its commitment to deliver new employment opportunities and support for refugees and migrants who have settled in Australia.”

She said SSI and Allianz had a vision of playing a key support role in the community in the areas of education, employment and addressing social justice issues.

“The partnership was the first initiative of its kind and proves what can be done by corporates that want to integrate human rights policy and practice into their business operations,” she said.

Research and SSI’s professional experience in humanitarian settlement work has shown that refugees, migrants and people seeking asylum come to Australia highly motivated to work and build prosperity, while contributing to the society that has accepted them. But this motivation does not necessarily lead to employment.

“That is why innovative schemes like the Allianz-SSI partnership are so important,” said Ms Roumeliotis.

“This partnership is creating new solutions that support people to overcome challenges, while they focus their drive and skill towards a new career.”

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