“Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.”
Ghadeer spontaneously faced the audience from the front of the room and thanked the Equip mentors for helping him to complete a resume and learn about work.
Diversitat and Northern Bay College have been working together since October 2017 to support students with a refugee background. It was the end-of-program celebration and five young people felt confident enough to stand in front of the room and make impromptu speeches.
Every week, the students have been meeting with volunteer mentors. They’ve been helping the young people to research career pathways. The students share the goal to get a part-time job by the end of this year and mentors have been working with them on resumes, jobs skills and interviews.
Deakin university staff offered to put the learning into practice and host some ‘mock interviews’.
Imagine arriving in Australia with no English skills, and having a 1:1 interview at Deakin six months later!
It was a valuable opportunity and the ‘applicants’ embraced the challenge. Now hosted for the third time, the interviews also give Deakin staff the opportunity to witness the enthusiasm of these young people to learn and contribute.
During a tour of Waurn Ponds campus, the group ‘bumped’ into one of their mentors who had lectures to attend. This time it was the students who asked the questions about life as a university student.
With support from the school and Equip, participants have also been exposed to different workplaces linked with to their interests – such as trades, aged care, retail and police.
They’ve hosted a tea party for mentors, willingly shared reflections about their culture and country, and laughed when the mentors had so much trouble learning a welcome greeting in 5 different languages. They’ve also told us they are feeling more confident after meeting all the mentors who have, in some instances, become significant people in their lives.
Congratulations to the equip participants. Thanks to Janelle Hearn, CALD Community Worker at Northern Bay College and, of course, to the amazing Equip! mentors for their open hearts, regular weekly commitment and positive attitude towards some of the ‘blips’ of running a pilot program.