Sourcing the skills and experience to step into the Australian workforce can be a struggle for many people from CALD backgrounds but SSI’s Youth Collective initiative has been helping to break down barriers for young people with a series of new projects.
Following the success of the 20 Voices Youth Employment Symposium, the Youth Collective launched the Gateway to Your Future project in October, to give people from refugee backgrounds the skills and knowledge to secure local jobs.
The project, delivered in partnership with Granville TAFE, included two weeks of intensive training covering essential topics such as interviewing and communication skills, how to develop a resume, and job searching techniques. Participants gained an insight into their rights as an employee, and received one-on-one support to help them achieve their employment goals.
They also completed interviews before participating in several weeks of work experience with local employers including Dresden Optics, Parliament On King, The Social Outfit and Allprint Graphics.
SSI Chief Executive Officer Violet Roumeliotis said the Gateway to Your Future project was an ideal example of how SSI initiatives were helping to make a difference at the grass roots level by supporting refugees and recent migrants who are living in the community.
“Youth unemployment is an issue that affects many young people from CALD backgrounds, but the Gateway to Your Future project is truly committed to supporting these individuals who are the most vulnerable when it comes to finding work in Australia,” she said.
“The talent and skills that these young people bring to Australia is nothing short of inspiring, and we are proud to help them pursue opportunities by providing them with skills and education to support them in their future endeavours.”
Alice, 23, came to Australia as a refugee in June. She said the Gateway to Your Future project provided her with practical skills to prepare her for long term career prospects in Australia.
“I learned about the skills I need to get work and so much more about the employment sector,” Alice said. “I discovered how to write a resume, about professional development, and I have made many new friends.”
Alice, who receives caseworker support through SSI’s Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) program, added that the Gateway to Your Future project inspired her to improve her English skills to pursue her long-term goal of studying design and architecture in Australia.
Simon, 22, has been supported by SSI’s HSS program for refugees since arriving in Australia in September. He said the program gave him detailed insight into the Australian job market.
“Job hunting in Australia is so much different than Syria, so it was valuable to learn about the differences. I have also made some long term friends which is beautiful,” he said.
Simon, who recently submitted an application to study an engineering and medical science double degree at UTS, said the Gateway to Your Future program also equipped him with new skills and reinforced his judgements about the Australian workforce.
“I learned about active listening and the importance of not jumping to conclusions so that I am better at understanding and communicating,” he said.
Simon and Alice — along with other participants of the Gateway to Your Future project — have since completed work experience to help them adapt to the workforce, meet new friends, and further develop their personal strengths.
For more information on the Youth Collective, visit www.youthcollective.org.au.