A small not-for-profit organisation in Darwin, Ignite Potential’s pilot program ‘Onboarding and Mentoring for newly arrived skilled migrants’ has seen a majority of participants find work in a short span.
Finding work as a skilled migrant can be a challenging task in Australia and can take several months.
But for Candida Rego, a newly arrived skilled migrant, it was a different experience.
Ms Rego, originally from India, who had settled in Dubai, arrived in Darwin, Northern Territory in April this year and found a job in her own field within a month.
“I had a few friends who had moved from the UAE to Darwin and they said Australia is a great country to live,” Ms Rego told SBS Hindi.
“I had heard about how finding work can be tough but I took a different approach,” she shares.
Ms Rego, instead of diving straight into job hunting upon arriving in Australia, took the first few weeks to settle down and assimilate with the local community.
“Instead of applying for jobs straight away, I took my time to make friends, understand the community, volunteer, get a driving license and learn more about this new country,” says Ms Rego.
“I started attending my local church, joined the choir and a local badminton group. That is where I learnt about this program by ‘Ignite Potential’ which was about to pilot a program to help skilled migrants find work in Australia.
“The first day itself was a fantastic experience. We heard from employers about what they look for in a candidate, how to write a CV and a lot about work culture here.”
Ms Rego says the workshop gave her a good insight into the Australian job market.
Equipped with all the knowledge gained from the workshop, she began her job-hunting process and landed a job, in her field, within a month.
“Australian work culture is very different from where I come from. I learnt little nuances like how to write your CV, how volunteering can help build a network, how to follow up after applying. It helped me a lot. The workshop was fantastic. I started job hunting in June and I landed my first job in July,” Ms Rego says.
Ms Rego and ten other newly skilled migrants were part of the first pilot program by a small not-for-profit organisation in Darwin, Ignite Potential, which ran a three-month program to assist new migrants find work in Australia.
The program consists of three modules which include a day-long induction session, SBS cultural competence training and on-going mentoring support where migrants are paired with professionals from their own fields.
“Seven of those 11 participants have found jobs in their own field today,” says Sulal Mathai, one of the founders of Ignite Potential.
“That’s a 60 per cent success rate. If we continue delivering this program, it can help other migrants find work and help them settle smoothly in regional areas. Most of the time people are reluctant to move because of lack of support service. This can eliminate that fear,” says Mr Mathai.
“And we can easily replicate this model across Australia.”
This free program was made possible by the Federal Government’s Fostering Integration Grant of $50,000.
Ignite Potential will be presenting their approach and advocating for national-level initiatives for better migrant employment outcomes at the FECCA Conference in Hobart in October 2019.
The group will run a second workshop in October.