At the heart of this challenge is an ability to separate the true worth of individuals from stereotypes. Refugees are a case in point.
Take the prevalent stereotyping of refugees as being disengaged from the workforce and heavily dependent upon social security. Looking more closely at the data, this is because most studies only examine their initial years in Australia.
The longer term story, as many of us know and appreciate, is that the refugee population is striving for a better life and is prepared to work very hard to obtain it. And these values are typically passed on to their children.
By examining refugee engagement with the labour force across a longer period of residence in Australia and across generations, a more comprehensive picture of economic contribution emerges.
When they are given a chance, refugees seize it, and make the most of it. This flows through to their children, who have some of the highest workforce participation rates in the country.
Many disadvantaged job seekers, and particularly job seekers from a refugee background, experience barriers to obtaining employment in Australian workplaces - regardless of the diverse and valuable skills they have to offer.
That is a personal challenge for them but also a lost opportunity for Australia at a time when these skills are often in great demand.
A recent Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA) report shows that Australian refugee-humanitarian settlers have lower levels of labour market performance than other categories of immigrants.
Data matching from the Census* and the Department of Immigration shows that workforce participation for refugees was 42.3 percent compared to 76.8 percent for skilled immigrants and 63.8 percent for family immigrants. Similarly, unemployment rates for refugees were identified as 22.5 percent whilst for skilled immigrants it was 7.5 percent and family immigrants were 10.4 percent.
Given the particular situation of refugee-humanitarian settlers, these findings are not surprising. Refugees, by virtue of the sudden, unplanned and often traumatic circumstances surrounding their immigration, face greater barriers than other immigrants in entering and succeeding in the Australian labour market.
Language barriers are especially important with 36.5 per cent of first generation refugee humanitarian settlers rating themselves as not speaking English well or not at all**.
This picture shows refugees strive to increase their workforce and community participation over time and the generations that come after them often exceed the workforce participation of mainstream Australians.
Critically, programs like Given the Chance at ANZ are an important stepping stone for that first generation whose fantastic skills and attributes can be too easily overlooked in our modern recruitment systems and strategies.
The program is a role model for a joint business and community support approach that capitalises on the great things that refugees have to offer.
We know employers want people who are genuinely motivated to work and succeed. The Brotherhood has worked in partnership with many employers to provide recruitment and placement opportunities, in both the public and corporate sectors.
These partnerships have been highly successful, demonstrating that with the right support, people who are not competitive in the ordinary labour market can improve their skills and become highly productive employees.
Given the Chance is part of the Brotherhood's unique approach to employment support. We spend time with both potential employees and employers to learn about their business and to understand the requirements of their particular workplaces.
Given the Chance is one of our longest running and most effective employment support models offering pre-vocational training to both jobseekers and supervisors, followed by intensive field support on the job.