SSI’s Youth Collective program launched the 20 Voices project on October 2, with a dedicated employment forum to help multicultural youth develop skills for the workforce.
Designed to promote discussion on employment issues affecting young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, the 20 Voices Youth Employment Symposium featured a series of presentations and skills workshops to help prepare young people for careers.
Attendees at the 20 Voices Multicultural Youth forum.
Bankstown City Council Community Development Officer Turkan Aksoy showcased the Youth StepUp phone app that helps job seekers create resumes and tailored cover letters, while Member for Granville, Julie Finn, made a guest appearance to discuss the valuable skills that multicultural youth provide to the broader community.
“You [multicultural youth] bring skills that we need, such as a first language other than English,” Ms Finn said. “It is an asset.”
Skills workshops also included practical discussions on how to make employment contacts, how to present in a job interview, and how to follow ambitions and develop a career path.
SSI staff also gave a presentation on the Gateway to Your Future project, which aims to help young adults develop practical skills to help them find work. The project includes two weeks of training at Granville TAFE followed by four weeks of work experience, and is open to all youth from diverse backgrounds aged 19-25.
Twenty-two year old Simon, who came to Australia as a refugee from Syria, said the forum equipped him with the skills and knowledge to secure a job in Australia.
“To find a job in Syria, you don’t use the internet; it all goes through who you know,” Simon said. “So I came here today to learn more about employability in Australia.”
Matheel, 26, from Iraq, added that the symposium explained seemingly commonplace information in a simple format.
“I learned how to write a resume, and that you have to be friendly when you go for an interview,” Matheel said. “Job seeking in Iraq works in a completely different way.”
SSI Youth Projects Coordinator Dor Akech Achiek said the inaugural 20 Voices Youth Employment Symposium laid strong foundations for future events that address topics facing multicultural youth.
“Young people from diverse cultural backgrounds often experience issues and barriers around community integration, and these consultations are an ideal platform to develop a greater understanding of the needs of multicultural youth, to better understand their aspirations, and to help them achieve their goals,” he said.
SSI Chief Operating Officer Astrid Perry thanked the Youth Collective team for their continued efforts to build today’s youth into tomorrow’s leaders.
“The success of the first 20 Voices event is a clear indication of how this initiative is addressing the needs of young multicultural adults, and helping them to realise their full potential,” Ms Perry concluded.