Creating job opportunities for refugee and asylum seekers

Do you remember the first time you applied for a job? How long it took to find that great opportunity in the newspaper or online and then to piece together your resume and cover letter? Then how nervous you felt in your interview, worried about jumbling up your words and a shaky voice?

Now imagine how it must feel to have only learnt how to speak English, understanding some but not all of the words used by the people around you and to have only settled in a new country a couple of years ago.

For those with refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, the task of obtaining a job can seem all the more daunting and research as shown that only 23% of new settlers are in paid employment 2 years later (Building a New Life in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Humanitarian Migrants, Department of Social Services).

Thanks to your donations, Diversitat received an Innovation grant of $175,000 for the New Futures Program. Aiming to bring together people with diverse refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, this program provides them with training in understanding the Australian workplace, volunteering opportunities to practice their English and ultimately the skills needed to find a job.

Recently, the first group graduated from the program and came together to share their experiences:

“I come from Afghanistan and have been in Australia for 5 years. When I came to Australia with no English, just some words, I stayed at home for two years before I started language class in 2016. I decided last year to participate and volunteer and I had no idea what to do, where to find, where should I go but this program is very helpful for me.

 I am studying Diploma of Early Childhood and Care and with this program I am learning how I will apply for jobs once I finish this course.”


“This program has shown me how to get a job, has shown me all the rules about Australia, how to take care of money and has shown me about different cultures here.”


“I have been in Australia for 1 year. Many different community come to Australia and I learnt how to write a resume and to find opportunity for work. Also with this program it’s the first time I get a certificate in Australia [through The Gordon’s Jobs and Skills Centre].”


“When I arrived to Australia three years ago, it was the first two weeks that was very hard as a new arrival. At that time, we were the first Arabic and Syrian families in Geelong. The settlement program was not familiar with people from these different nationalities. Because every community has different needs so you have to deal with it differently. We faced these problems but as I have a leadership enthusiasm I start to support the community and come to Diversitat in 2017 and volunteer for many programs. But there was still something missing with my community to assist the new arrivals in finding work. This program was the answer.

With this program I learnt new skills, I have got a job interview and was able to practice my interview with the group first so that made me more confident and I now have a job at Diversitat as customer administrator.”


“We came from Syria under the Asylum program and have been in Australia for 1 year, 6 months. When we first came here, we didn’t have any support and the first week is very hard to know how to use the bus, to go to the supermarket, go to the doctor and get a job.

I joined this program to support our community people who are coming here to Australia to teach them how to do these things. I’m happy with this program because we built my resume, my knowledge to get a job, of Australia.”


These graduates are now encouraged to volunteer as mentors while Diversitat recruits new participants to the program as well as continue their studies and work with the organisation to find job placements.