Young workers from migrant and refugee backgrounds will receive mentoring support to help them stay in a job long term, thanks to an innovative new service being delivered by SSI.
As part of the youth mentoring service, SSI will provide mentors for 200 employed recently arrived migrant and refugee young people aged 15–24 years, as well as support for employers.
The two-year project is part of the Federal Department of Employment’s Empowering Youth Initiatives, which funds community organisations to deliver innovative and unique services that help young people who are among the long-term unemployed or at risk of becoming so.
SSI General Manager Peter Zographakis said the mentoring model would help young refugees and migrants to address some of the unique challenges they face before and after their arrival in Australia.
“Migrant and refugee youth often experience unique challenges that impact on their ability to secure and retain work in Australia, including disrupted early education, separation from family, language barriers and a lack of knowledge about the local employment environment and employer expectations.
“This innovative solution will support the efforts of young people to keep their job by giving them access to a mentor who will assist them for six months in areas such as adapting to a new workplace environment,” he said.
SSI will also provide employers with support to understand cultural issues to help them engage and retain employees who are recently arrived migrant and refugee youth.
Mr Zographakis explained the service provided an innovative and customised approach to supporting vulnerable young people. “Mentoring is a key part of the new service because of its proven success in helping young people to achieve long term goals,” Mr Zographakis said.
“Research tells us that when young newly arrived migrants and refugees are trying to keep their jobs, practical solutions include helping them to prepare for work and providing mentoring once they are employed. It’s also clear there is a role for employers to further understand the needs of this group, including through cultural mentoring to help them recruit, retain and get the best employment outcomes for young people.
“Employers know just how costly staff turnover is, and SSI’s support will help them to avoid the unnecessary expense of losing an employee who would otherwise have made a valuable contribution to their business,” he said.
As part of the new service, SSI will work with refugee and migrant youth living in the Sydney metropolitan area, with a particular focus on Greater Western Sydney.