SSI News Blog

More than 20 hardworking individuals seeking asylum in Australia have found employment after a mattress recycling social enterprise partnered with SSI to replace their machines with manpower.

Soft Landing Employees stop for a photo with SSI visitors 

Soft Landing Smithfield’s move has created much needed jobs for a demographic that faces various barriers to employment, such as a lack of local work experience, awareness about the job search methods, local referees and lack of social networks.

Soft Landing Operations Manager Joe Rasmussen said when the social enterprise’s material recovery machines were compromised in a factory fire, they reached out to SSI in search of people seeking employment with transferrable skills.

Within two months SSI was able to refer 21 experienced individuals from an asylum seeker background. Joe Rasmussen explained that the move has led to a notable increase in productivity.

“The employment team at SSI quickly identified some very hardworking guys to join our team, and overall it has been very successful; growth has meant opportunity at every level of the organisation.”

Sunny, an individual seeking asylum, has been working at the recycling company for three months. He said he has learnt a lot since starting work at Soft Landing, having progressed from cutting and recycling mattresses to pressing steel to making trips with delivery trucks.

“You have to think about your boss as your big brother. You need to support their business so they succeed, because if they succeed you will succeed. Think about the company’s needs and the company will think about you," he said.

Watisomi, another individual SSI referred to Soft Landing, said he hoped to progress upwards in the organisation.

“It would be great to become a manager or a supervisor, but mostly I am just looking to do my best and work as hard as I can. “

Finding employment is a crucial step in the journey towards social and economic independence. Many vulnerable communities SSI supports require support to overcome barriers to securing sustainable, meaningful employment. The SSI Employment and Enterprise Services team provides individually tailored employment support that generates real outcomes for refugees, people seeking asylum, and other job seekers. Learn more about SSI’s employment services here.

Soft Landing is a national social enterprise of Community Resources Ltd, a chariable organisation that exists to support people and the planet. Soft Landing operates across NSW, ACT, VIC and WA and focuses on diverting waste mattresses from landfill and recovering the materials to recycle. A key focus of the enterprise is providing employment opportunities for people who experience barriers entering the open labour market.

Success stories

Karim's small business success while seeking asylum

Ignite Small Business Start-ups client Karim.Karim* arrived in Australia in 2012 to seek asylum when it became unsafe for him to stay in Iran.

An electrical engineer by trade and with a wealth of experience, he owned and operated his own business in his home town of Shiraz, Iran.

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