Several newly arrived refugees have secured full-time work and dozens more have been offered paid apprenticeships as part of a joint venture to help new arrivals develop a career in the construction industry.
Representatives from SSI, Austral Bricks and the Australian Brick & Blocklaying Training Foundation joined an orientation session for new arrivals in Fairfield.
Following a series of negotiations with SSI, the Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF), with the support of Austral Bricks, last month offered paid apprenticeship positions to a number of newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants who are supported by SSI’s Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) program.
The paid apprenticeships will see dozens of new arrivals develop on-the-job experience in bricklaying and roof tiling with the ABBTF, and equip them with skills to establish their own construction business within just four years.
Four newly arrived refugees with previous industry experience have already been offered full-time work, and many more will be able to fast track their career development with the apprenticeships that acknowledge prior learning.
South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE has also offered free White Card certificates to all registered apprentices, in addition to English language skills support.
Austral Bricks General Manager NSW Mark Ellenor explained the apprenticeships would help to minimise chronic skills shortages in NSW, while supporting new arrivals to develop a career in trade professions.
“There are a lot of work opportunities for bricklayers and tilers in Greater Western Sydney, and apprenticeships are a great way for people to get paid to learn,” he said.
Mr Elleanor also described the joint venture as a "first of its kind" that would open the door to many opportunities for new arrivals.
"We have been overwhelmed with the response so far, and we look forward to supporting as many new arrivals as possible to start their career in a trade," he said.
SSI Manager Humanitarian Settlement Services Yamamah Agha welcomed the apprenticeships as a great opportunity that will support the long term settlement outcomes of new arrivals.
“Employment and education remain the greatest challenges for newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants, who often face language barriers and difficulties navigating the Australian workforce,” she said.
“The paid apprenticeships offered by Austral Bricks will make a real difference to the lives of new arrivals by minimising these barriers and allowing them to regain their social and economic independence which plays such a large role in the settlement journey.”
All participants will complete a three day training course, provided by ABBTF, after which they will be placed in paid work with employers in their local area.