Being witness to acts of war as an adolescent has increased the maturity of 22-year-old graphic design teacher Talar Hagob, who has recently secured part-time employment with Australia for UNHCR.
With an Armenian cultural background from Aleppo, Syria, Ms Hagob was studiously preparing for her HSC exams when a terrorist attack struck her neighbourhood in 2013, leaving her family’s apartment building unsafe.
As conditions worsened, she moved to a new neighbourhood with her family where they waited for their visa applications to be accepted. Despite these disruptive conditions, Ms Hagob was able to complete her secondary education and gain experience teaching graphic design at a local college.
When Ms Hagob and her family were granted their visas to Australia she was in her final year of studying a Bachelor of Economics. Due to sudden relocation, she was unable to complete her degree.
After moving from Melbourne to Sydney in April of 2017, Ms Hagob and her family discovered SSI through Refugee Talent, a digital platform to connect skilled refugees with companies offering short and long term job opportunities.
“SSI supported my family by helping us get a bond and furniture for our new home in Sydney,” Ms Hagob said.
Shortly afterwards, Ms Hagob joined a youth group that referred her to the SSI
Youth Pathways and Placement Project (YPPP) to gain local work experience.
“I was also supported by SSI when I enrolled into the YPPP, as this program gave me a paid job and helped me improve and develop my skills.”
SSI Youth Employment and Social Enterprise Manager Leanne Hung described the YPPP as a launch-pad of opportunity for youth of refugee background.
“The YPPP gives youth the opportunity to gain local, paid work experience in a safe-to-fail environment. Our refugee participants are able to significantly improve their English and make the transition to external employment,” Ms Hung said.
Ms Hagob is grateful for the opportunities that came to fruition after she completed the YPPP. She is currently working as a part-time Admin Assistant for Australia for UNHCR and has more recently secured another part-time role in her qualified field as a graphic designer for design agency RedK.
“I am grateful to be working as graphic designer, but what makes me most happy is working in an organisation that helps refugees — this is very important for me.”