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Supporting Migrants and Refugees to Find Employment

Sonder launches new program to support migrants and refugees living in Adelaide to find employment

Australia’s population is culturally and linguistically rich and has been reshaped over many years by migrants. In 2015, approximately 28.2% of the population was born overseas. For migrants and refugees, employment is a crucial step towards successful settlement in Australia. Finding secure and stable employment enables economic security and a positive sense of identity in their new host country.

Migrants benefit from guidance and support whilst looking for jobs in Australia. Many have the skills required but are often not aware of the hiring practices and workplace cultures that exist in Australia.

This innovative new program, called ‘Employment Solutions’ will offer free services at Sonder offices, north and west of the city in a bid to support migrants and refugees to find meaningful employment to achieve economic security, experience feelings of belonging, and be empowered to fully participate in Australian society.

The program is supported by the Try, Test and Learn Fund — an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Andrew Ceniuch, Sonder Employment Services Manager says the program is aimed at migrants and refugees, aged 16-64 years who receive income support payments and would benefit from some support to find and maintain employment.

“Sonder Employment Solutions is an entirely voluntary program and is independent from Centrelink and Jobactive services,” Mr Ceniuch says.

“The program will operate from two Sonder locations, at Edinburgh North and Port Adelaide. This unique service will also focus on addressing the emotional wellbeing needs of migrants and refugees by providing Employment Solutions clients with access to Wellbeing Coaches.”

The skilled team includes both Wellbeing Coaches (accredited Mental Health Professionals) and Career Coaches, including Jacene Wiseman who says the Career Coaches will work closely with clients in the program to “guide them along the entire journey towards employment and provide assistance as needed, this could include; completing vocational assessments to identify suitable jobs, helping with writing resumes and cover letters, preparing for interviews, speaking to local employers to identify potential job opportunities and helping to manage the requirements of Centrelink and Job Service Providers.”

“Caseloads are capped at 25 clients for each Career Coach. This means we have the time to provide comprehensive and individualised support to each person we work with.”

“After employment has been sourced, Career Coaches will continue to provide support for as long as the client wishes and can speak to employers on the person’s behalf to work through any challenges that may arise within the new workplace,” Ms Wiseman says.

Adapting to a new culture can be a hurdle which impacts on mental health. Grief, loss and continuing anxiety over family and friends left behind can make it difficult to establish a new life. Fortunately, this unique employment program acts as a wrap-around service, providing links into Sonder’s other mental health programs whereby clinicians can work with clients to help them overcome some of the barriers and difficulties experienced with migration.

How to access the program

Sonder Employment Solutions is a free program and getting involved is easy.

Referrals can be made by community organisations and employment services. Self-referrals are also accepted from individuals interested in the program.

To be eligible for Sonder Employment Solutions people must:

  • Be a migrant or refugee aged between 16-64 years;
  • Hold a valid Visa with working rights;
  • Be receiving an income support payment with or without Mutual Obligation Requirements;
  • Speak English proficiently;
  • Live in Adelaide’s northern or western suburbs (City of Playford, City of Salisbury, Port Adelaide Enfield, City of Charles Sturt, or City of Tea Tree Gully)

To access the program, complete the online referral form available at sonder.net.au/employment-solutions

For further information, contact Sonder on (08) 8209 0700 or visit sonder.net.au/employment-solutions