GIVING A CHANCE
The Brotherhood of St Laurence, as a national welfare organisation, has been assisting refugees and migrants settle in Australia for more than half a century. In 2007, we forged a key partnership with ANZ to join our Given the Chance employment program.
We aim to implement what the name of the program implies: to tap into the capacities of potential employees from refugee backgrounds with ANZ providing pathways for paid work in the banking sector.
It's a practical approach where ANZ offers four- and six-month paid work placement opportunities for participants to prove themselves across the business, including in back office operations, customer service and retail branches.
More than 100 people have participated since the program was established at the bank. From the 2013-2015 intake more than 80 percent remain employed.
Importantly, as the world confronts the biggest refugee crisis since World War Two, ANZ has shown its commitment to the values guiding our program by recently adding a number of asylum seekers with work rights into the intake.
The Given the Chance program with ANZ is a good model of a supported employment opportunity for people to learn skills on the job. It tackles one of the big barriers people with refugee backgrounds also face - their lack of relevant local work experience.
In the end, for refugees who've already overcome many hurdles in their lives to come here, it's all about being given a chance - and then they will seize it. And we all benefit.
Tony Nicholson is Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence