Working at Woolworths is a little different to his previous job as a petroleum engineer, but Safwan Aldod has high career aspirations and believes that everyone needs to start somewhere.
Mr Aldod is a new arrival of refugee background, recreating life in his new home Australia.
From Iraq, Mr Aldod was a petroleum engineer in the Middle East for 23 years, with experience in leading large government projects.
“Managing such large projects from start to finish taught me that even the best planner cannot predict the obstacles that can come up along the way, and what is important is to take the first step,” Mr Aldod said.
Mr Aldod – along with 13 other people supported by the Refugee Employment Support Program (RESP), delivered by SSI – have been offered employment with Woolworths after participating in a three week work experience program.
Woolworths, in partnership with SSI and Community Corporate, has provided opportunities for newcomers to enter their business as part of their wider diversity and inclusion strategy and genuine commitment to have a workforce that reflects the local community.
Azin Soleymani Dahajhas is another newcomer who has also been supported by SSI RESP to achieve her career goals and settle into life in Australia. After participating in the Woolworths program she secured employment in the Woolworths support office.
“I am so happy to be meeting some of the 3000 people that work in this office, and to have the opportunity to be in paid work.”
SSI CEO and Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year, Violet Roumeliotis said it’s encouraging that businesses like Woolworths, Allianz, Clubs NSW and the many other supporters of RESP understand the value of investing in diversity and recognise the skills, knowledge and experience that many new comers have to offer.
“One of their biggest challenges is the lack of local work experience or professional networks. Some time spent as an intern or in work experience not only gives them something tangible to put on their resume, but goes a long way to increasing their self-confidence and integration into Australian working life,” Ms Roumeliotis said.
“I hope more corporates come on board and that other business leaders consider the innovation and commercial impact to be gained from partnerships with the not-for-profit sector.”