Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI) are proud to mark five years of partnership with almost 200 (177) scholarships cumulatively granted to support people of refugee backgrounds achieve independence in Australia. The milestone was celebrated at the annual Allianz SSI scholarships ceremony held virtually where 20 individuals from a refugee background were awarded scholarships; each who required financial assistance for their education or attained local recognition for their qualifications.
The award-winning partnership between Allianz and SSI has been delivering new education and career opportunities for refugees and migrants since 2016; with the scholarship program created to minimise the financial barriers experienced by refugees as they participate in the NSW education system.
To date, almost 200 (177) refugee education scholarships have been awarded via the partnership, with a combined value of over $400,000, and 32 refugees have been supported into permanent employment with Allianz in a variety of skilled roles across Finance, Human Resources, Claims, IT, Underwriting, Workers Compensation and Marketing. Over $62,000 – including $50,000 from Allianz – has been allocated this year to the 20 awarded individuals, all towards their educational endeavours.
Allianz Australia, Managing Director, Richard Feledy said he was incredibly proud of the contributions the initiative has provided to a number of people of refugee backgrounds, and by extension, their families and community, “Our relationship with SSI is part of our commitment to continually contribute to an inclusive society. One in which all people – no matter their culture, background or ability – feel valued. Importantly, one in which individuals have the opportunity to access equal education or progress their careers, and to use their unique skills and reach their full personal or professional goals.”
Also commenting on the partnership’s milestone, SSI CEO, Violet Roumeliotis, said, “We are proud to mark five years with Allianz, recognising and encouraging the strengths, talent and resilience of many individuals. Allianz understands that supporting individuals who are refugees is not just about providing material aid and assisting people to survive. It's also about making sure there are opportunities to learn, work and thrive.”
“At SSI, it’s our mission to support people of refugee background to reach their full potential. The SSI Allianz scholarships program seeks to do this by reducing the financial barriers experienced by refugees as they participate in the education system. This year we were overwhelmed with over 200 applications, with the cohort of recipients ranging from teenagers who aspire to be doctors and teachers, through to a father who is reskilling by pursuing a tertiary education. I am always excited that, together with organisations like Allianz, we can help people like these overcome their hurdles and realise their dreams,” Ms Roumeliotis said.
The Allianz and SSI partnership has been recognised by the Australian Human Rights Commission. In 2017 it was awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission Business Award. For more information on the Allianz and SSI partnership, visit www.allianz.com.au/about-us/community/inclusive-society/.
About the SSI Allianz Scholarships
The SSI Allianz scholarships directly support people from refugee backgrounds to achieve independence.
Refugees who come to Australia face many challenges during settlement, such as financial hardship, dealing with experiences of torture and trauma, and family separation.
Yet Australia is a nation built on immigration and has a long history of providing safe asylum to refugees, many of whom have gone on to make great civil, social and economic contributions to Australian society.
SSI and Allianz aim to continue that tradition by providing targeted scholarships to those who are the most in need and willing to overcome social and economic challenges.
Settlement Services International is a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. We work with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality.
SSI Communications Officer