For Asylum Seekers Centre employment coordinator Jeff Milgate, the best kind of day is one where a person seeking asylum… Read More
When Andrew arrived in Australia, he found his first job alone.
“I met a guy, he was working, doing the maintenance for the new seats on the train stations. I commented that I liked the job he was doing and he said, ‘You want the job?’ I said, ‘Yes.” And that’s how I got my first job. We went to get the tickets to work on the railroad. And then we were going places until he was out of contracts.”
When things got tough, the Asylum Seekers Centre helped Andrew find his feet. Without access to unemployment benefits, getting work is the only way to survive.
“When I first came, I was getting food every week, getting clothes, all the stuff from them. And then they helped me with classes there before I started to get a job”
He says the friendships and sense of community the ASC provides, support him like “a pillar”.
“They support me through everything. Finding me a job, and then showing me the skill sets, like the basics to know in Australia to get a job, how to do a resume and all the other stuff.”
Andrew was studying to be an accountant before he sought protection, but also had some experience in construction, working with machines.
Tanya is an ASC job advisor. She works with clients like Andrew every day, and is determined to help her clients succeed.
She says the barriers refugees and people seeking asylum face each day are draining, and people looking for work need to persevere to find the right job.
(It’s important to) “… take a strategic view to job searches as opposed to applying for whatever is available. People seeking asylum face structural barriers – visas, language, documents – understanding a lot of what that they were sent, like contracts…. There are a whole lot of cultural barriers in terms of different ways of working and different norms.
Most people seeking asylum need work urgently, for money for basics like food and medicine, but finding long-term, stable and satisfying work is equally important.
With the ASC’s help, Andrew now has a steady job in waste management.
“I start doing the work and then they were happy with my output and then they decide to keep me. That’s how I got the job. They’re all good people and they are very nice. And they treat everyone equal too.”
Andrew’s previous experience working with heavy machinery is useful and his boss says Andrew is now an important member of the team.
“Andrew… wants to try, he wants to learn, he wants to be working. He enjoys having a joke with the boys about the soccer and stuff…he just wants to be involved.”
Andrew’s employer knows how difficult it is to break into the job market.
“Getting paid every week is just a start… people just need a lucky break. It doesn’t cost anything. When you can give a person a break, you can change their life. It’s good for a business and it’s good for culture and it’s good for everything. Everyone has the right to work. Everyone has the right to earn their money and enjoy their money. “
*Andrew has chosen a different name to remain anonymous