SSI News Blog

A new program that aims to teach young refugees basic business skills and help them find a job was announced in Sydney today. The ‘Allianz Ladder’ program will familiarise refugee youth with business environments and help them develop the core skills and confidence they need to find their first job in Australia. 

“Finding employment is often the primary goal for refugees of working age, but due to barriers – including the need to professionally retrain and lack of English language proficiency – many face occupational skidding and welfare dependency,” said SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis.

“This situation is compounded for young refugees who, through major life disruption, may not have completed formal education or gained work experience.”

SSI and Allianz staff meet to mark the new venture.
L–R Sarah Patience, Allianz Diversity & Sustainabiltiy Consultant; Naushin Rahman, SSI Fundraising & Partnerships Manager; Charis Martin-Ross, Allianz Diversity & Sustainability Manager; Jenny Sammut, Allianz Head of Innovation; Patrick Armstrong, Allianz Internal Communications Manager; and Terry Wilson, SSI Manager – Employment & Enterprise Services.

The Allianz Ladder program includes a series of workshops and mentoring sessions that will help participants develop foundation business skills such as problem solving, innovation, communication and teamwork.

The concept is a leadership and innovation pathway, providing access to employment opportunities for refugee youth who have exited compulsory education and are seeking their first job in Australia.

It will be delivered in a simulated learning environment known as the Experience Centre, to help familiarise young refugees with a realistic business environment.

SSI has been partnering with Allianz Australia for a number of years, and the relationship has had concrete outcomes; the Sustainable Employment Program established last year has provided 15 refugees with tailored development and career management plans, leading to permanent employment.

“At Allianz we are committed to social inclusion and tackling refugee employment is an important part of this,” Allianz Diversity and Sustainability Manager, Charis Martin-Ross said.

“This has only been possible through close partnership with SSI given their deep expertise in addressing barriers to employment for refugees and migrants.”

Martin-Ross added that it also makes good business sense for companies to build a culturally diverse workforce.

“Australia is a multicultural nation: four out of five people were born overseas or have a parent born overseas. In this regard, understanding and responding to the needs of our culturally diverse customers is vital,” she said.

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Muhammad Sadiq: How I came to call Australia home

Muhammad Sadiq cooking for people seeking asylum at Community Kitchen.I came to Australia as a refugee in 2009, hoping to find a peaceful place to build a home for my family. Increasing persecution of the Hazara community from which my family and I come meant that our native land, Pakistan, was no longer the safe haven it once had been.

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