Recently, SSI’s General Manager Peter Zographakis gave a keynote presentation, accompanied by an editorial, about the need for not-for-profits to diversify and build strong partnerships if they are to remain sustainable and prosper. This week we were proud to announce the culmination of months of friendly negotiations that resulted in one such partnership with insurer Allianz Australia.
Left to right: SSI General Manager, Peter Zographakis; Sera Kebabjian; Ruby Tran; Souad Boutros; Maxeem Georges; Abdelraheem Altabaibeh; Allianz Australia Managing Director, Niran Peiris.
This innovative partnership between Allianz and SSI will deliver new career opportunities and support for refugees and migrants who have settled in Australia. I am happy to say that this partnership is now in action, with five new recruits starting their first days on the job with Allianz this week.
The first group of new employees includes three women and two men from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Vietnam, who came to Australia as refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Like most new arrivals to Australia, they come with qualifications and experience that can be put to use. This particular group has skills and qualifications in the areas of accounting, business management, community services, legal, and banking and insurance.
Increasing access to education and employment opportunities ultimately increases social participation, independence, and economic and personal well-being for those from a refugee background. Large corporations like Allianz have enormous potential to create jobs, open access to education and basic services, and deliver innovative solutions.
Research and our professional experience in humanitarian settlement work has shown that refugees, migrants and people seeking asylum come to Australia highly motivated to work and build prosperity, while contributing to the society that has accepted them. But this motivation does not necessarily lead to employment.
There are many challenges for these people as they try to attain gainful, sustainable employment in Australia. Most have no Australian work experience, no affordable options for the recognition of their skills and qualifications, and limited access to English language tuition.
That is why innovative schemes like the Allianz-SSI partnership are so important. We feel we are now creating new solutions that support people to overcome challenges, while they focus their drive and skill towards a new career.
Over the next two years Allianz will offer permanent placements for up to 10 people per year who in turn are supported by SSI programs. Our staff will identify potential recruits and provide ongoing support to the new starters.
The scheme is designed to mirror the first year of Allianz’s successful graduate program and will include two job rotations in the company within the 12 months that align to the employees’ background, skills and experience. After the two rotations, Allianz will work with participants to identify a suitable permanent role.
A second component of the partnership, will provide educational scholarships funded by Allianz to assist recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers to integrate successfully into their new communities. The scholarships aim to minimise the impact of structural disadvantage that refugees often experience during the early settlement phase by increasing access to education.
In announcing the partnership, Allianz Australia Managing Director Niran Peiris said Allianz was proud to support diverse communities in Australia and to give an opportunity to some of those who have come to this country as a result of misfortune and instability in their homeland.
The company’s initiative should be applauded and shown as an example of how such schemes that are a win-win for businesses and communities, can affect significant social outcomes for vulnerable people.