More than 500 job seekers of refugee background received first-hand advice and guidance on how to access sustainable employment at the Refugee Job Start: Information Expo in October.
Refugee job seekers connected with community services and corporate organisations that can help them to engage with the local jobs market at the event in Liverpool, which was organised by SSI, the Australian Government Department of Employment, the NSW Department of Industry and Multicultural NSW.
“We hope this event can offer a space for newly arrived job seekers to connect with a wide range of Commonwealth, State and community support services in the same room, maximising their possibilities to find the job they want,” SSI Employment and Enterprise manager Terry Wilson said.
“The Expo also offered refugees the opportunity to attend workshops to build their job search skills and receive advice on career navigation to assist with their employment endeavours.”
SSI Employment staff members interacted with expo attendees and offered referrals to a wide range of SSI programs, such as one of the social enterprises to gain work experience, the Refugee Employment Support Program (RESP), Career Pathways Program (CPP), Young Placement and Pathways Program (YPPP) or the Ignite and IgniteAbility initiatives.
NSW Coordinator-General for Refugee Resettlement Peter Shergold said that like any new community members, refugees encounter barriers to successfully settling and becoming contributing members of society.
“One of the things we need to overcome these barriers is employers who are willing to give their support and give them a chance. Sometimes it’ll be a job; others work experience or simply a connection. Everything helps,” he said.
“We can only do this if we have employers on board, and this is why we have brought the two parts together here.”
One employer, Service NSW, shared the positive experience her organisation had with the new RESP service, which is also provided by SSI and addresses the challenges experienced by unemployed or underemployed refugees and people seeking asylum in finding sustainable and skilled employment opportunities.
“Over the last months, 18 recently arrived refugees joined our customer service area, bringing advantageous new skills and experience that resulted in exceeding average KPIs and reducing waiting time for customers,” said a representative.
“We’ve matched them with communities who they share language and culture with, so they can better assess what clients want. We’re very happy with them and would recommend the program to other employers.”
RESP is an efficient, tailored program that meets the needs of job seekers of refugee background, while helping to break down existing stigmas against refugees through work placements.
In the three months since RESP launched, SSI has registered 1,200 job seekers, of which 80 have secured employment.