“ Since JVES has supported me, I’ve been able to secure a graduate position with a community health centre, and that is a really big leap forward for me.”
– NYABEEL, AFRICAREERS CLIENT
A job interview is in progress at the South-East Melbourne Jobs Fair. TaskForce has invited a local employer to speak with the jobseekers we’ve just met and who have registered for our Jobs Victoria Employment Services (JVES) programs, AfriCareers and MyWay. Our participant exits the interview with a big smile – after looking for almost a year he’s been offered a job on the spot. Six months later his new employer won’t stop raving about his work.
With over 100 participants already placed, Silvia Saso, TaskForce’s JVES Manager says demand for the AfriCareers program is still growing strongly through word of mouth and TaskForce is working with other agencies, employers and government to make resources stretch even further.
Members of southeast Melbourne’s African community often find it hard to get work due to a variety of factors such as discrimination, lack of experience, lack of Australian work history or low education levels, she said.
The AfriCareers program, born out of a long-standing relationship between TaskForce and Afri-Aus Care, and delivered in partnership with Centre for Multicultural Youth, is relatively simple in concept but transformational in practice.
“Jobseekers register to receive one-on-one support from a Jobs Victoria mentor. The mentor helps the new client create a pathway plan into education and employment and identify the issues that the jobseeker faces to make their plan a reality,” Silvia says.
“Through regular appointments, the mentor will use a wraparound model to assist the jobseeker in overcoming the barriers, increase their skillset and get them job ready.”
Jobseekers are supported with specialist coaching, career counselling, work readiness programs and referrals to other services as needed.
Education opportunities – such as nationally recognised training, short courses, licences and tickets (e.g. forklift, white card, police checks) are provided.
As soon as the program launched, jobseekers embraced the program and registered in high numbers.
The AfriCareers mentors are bicultural so there’s relatability there from the start.
“Mentors truly understand the client’s barriers to employment and instil confidence and credibility in the program,” Selba Gondoza-Luka, CEO of Afri-Aus Care says.
The JVES program provides Flexible Jobs Pathway funding for needed services, such as emergency support, work clothing, equipment, transportation costs or other necessities that would support the client while job searching or once at their new job.
“I was at uni and struggling to find full time employment. I didn’t have a network, and to get my foot in the door was a real struggle for me,” says Nyabeel. “The AfriCareers process was really simple, it eliminated all the ‘what if’ questions you could possibly have going into it. Once you read through the documents and process, you’re already excited to get into it. The workers made me so comfortable as well.”
Silvia says employers have been wonderful in their response to the program. “We asked employers to see past the lack of work experience and focus on the enthusiasm, passion and loyalty the new employee could bring.”
“We asked employers to consider overseas work history and life experience. We highlighted newly learned skills/education and assured employers that all jobseekers received highly customised preemployment training to support them on their new employment journey.”
“Many employers partnered with TaskForce and we started connecting our clients with jobs. We support clients and employers for the first six months to ensure the client settles into their role well and leads to longterm sustainable employment.”
Silvia says the Victorian Government funded program has instilled hope right across African communities in the region.
“Since JVES has supported me, I’ve been able to secure a graduate position with a community health centre, and that is a really big leap forward for me, and something I’m really grateful for,” says Nyabeel, who has now been in her new role for eight months.
“I think it’s one of the greatest initiatives, especially for young people or people from diverse backgrounds. It uses an equity lens which is important so it helps disadvantaged people have the same opportunity as advantaged people.”
“All these new workers are sharing their stories with the community, with their friends and family and hope has increased now that the evidence that the program works is there,” says Selba.
“People are genuinely turning their lives around, are making the most of the opportunity given to them and not letting go! This fills others with motivation to set their own goals and reach out to TaskForce for support. We have countless people who have called and said, ‘You got my friend a job, can you help me too?’”