Refugee Employment Support Program

The Refugee Employment Support Program (RESP) is a four-year initiative by the NSW Government that addresses the challenges that are experienced by refugees and people seeking asylum in finding suitable and skilled employment opportunities.

A young man in blue overalls is using a mobile tablet in a workshop with welding equipment and other tools.

The RESP program is available to people in western Sydney and the Illawarra who are underemployed or who are unemployed and require extra support – in addition to other Government-funded employment services – to enable them to contribute productively to the Australian community and workforce.

The program is focused on community-based solutions to employment through the involvement of local employers, organisations and other non-government organisations (NGOs) to connect eligible refugees and people seeking asylum with training, support and jobs.

Refugee Employment Support Program Partners

The program is delivered by a partnership of organisations that includes:

  • Arab Council Australia
  • Assyrian Australian Association
  • Illawarra Multicultural Services
  • Asylum Seekers Centre
  • Metro Assist
  • Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
  • Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC)

The RESP is embedded in the local communities of western Sydney and the Illawarra, through collaboration with SSI’s Member Organisations:

  • Auburn Diversity Services Inc.
  • Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC)
  • CORE Community Services
  • Illawarra Multicultural Services
  • Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
  • Metro Assist
  • SydWest Multicultural Services

Eligible RESP participants

Any person who has arrived in Australia on a refugee visa from December 1, 2011, aged 18 to 55, is eligible for the program in western Sydney and Illawarra.
People seeking asylum who are aged 18 to 55 and are currently living in the community may access the RESP in western Sydney.

What does RESP involve?

  • Working with individuals to develop suitable career pathways through customised Language, Education and Employment Plans (LEEPs)
  • Developing employable English levels
  • Screening suitable participants who require additional support to be job ready
  • Assessing existing skills and qualifications
  • Linking participants to training, resources and tools to gain sustainable and skilled employment
  • Support with transport barriers
  • Pursuing recognition of prior learning and qualifications
  • Access to a network of partner organisations and mentors
  • Practical skill development through social enterprises and work experience opportunities
  • Opportunities for participants to showcase their skills to potential employers

The program regions

Western Sydney (refugees and people seeking asylum); and Illawarra (refugees only).

Our model

The program is flexible and responsive to needs of participants. It considers people at all stages of the employment journey, whether they are seeking entry into the workforce or pursing skilled career options. Participants also work with multicultural employment specialists who can provide tailored support based on the participant’s skills, experience and goals.

Enterprising employment outcomes

On-the-job experience and simulated business environments can be accessed, including:

  • Our social enterprises including The Staples Bag and Humble Creatives.
  • Our SSI food truck, Food for Thought
  • The Experience Centre, offering participants the opportunity to gain experience and training in a real office environment in the areas of administration, accounting, digitisation, and more.

Apply or recommend a participant now:

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