Building employment pathways for young migrants

A NEW project spearheaded by Resource Work Cooperative is helping a group of young Tasmanian migrants develop skills and gain qualifications in construction, promoting pathways to future employment.

Funded with support from Australia Post and the Our Neighbourhood Community Grant program, the Migrant Construction Skills Project saw the young migrants gain a White Card certification and participate in a six-day on-site construction skills development program at the South Hobart Tip Education Centre.

Resource Work Cooperative education coordinator Brooke Everingham said the inaugural project was developed to address the significant barriers migrants faced in obtaining work in the Tasmanian construction industry.

This included a lack of recognised construction induction certification and poor understanding of Australian workplace safety standards.

Ms Everingham said the project provided participants with a valuable insight into the Tasmanian construction industry.

“They develop an understanding of what is required of them if they wish to continue toward employment in construction including skills, safety knowledge and physical commitment,” she said.

“The project also enhances their English communication skills and continues to build relationships and networks for them in the broader community.

“Thanks to Hutchinson Builders, the participants also had the opportunity to tour the Myer site to see a large-scale building site in operation – this is important as it differs greatly from their previous knowledge of construction in their home countries.”

Alongside developing hands-on construction skills and safety training, the participants also assisted in the retrofit of the Education Centre, further preparing it for the delivery of community workshops and events in waste reduction and creative reuse.

Ms Everingham said all the participants responded “incredibly well” to the program and its challenges.

“They really enjoyed the hands-on approach, as it empowered them to take risks and be trusted to use equipment they’ve not tried before,” she said.

“The chance to not only learn project-based skills and techniques, but to also gain accredited certification and visit an operational construction site helped to debunk any myths they may have had about what is required of them to gain employment in the industry.

“They all put in 100 per cent and understood the importance of this opportunity.”

Ms Everingham said migrants offered an abundance of skills, knowledge and life experience that would lead to a more vibrant and global Tasmanian work force.

“It is important to increase employability of migrants as they are eager to integrate into society, but have many barriers to overcome in order to gain the confidence to be job ready,” she said.

“The Migrant Construction Skills Project improves the ability of the Resource Work Cooperative to involve migrant communities in future activities and events which in turn, will strengthen the cultural diversity and creativity of the Tasmanian community.”

For more information about Resource Work Cooperative, visit www.resource.coop.

Caption: Migrant Construction Skills Project participants, from left, Kler Doh, Sayed Mujir Abbasi, Hassan Rezaie, Hossein Yaghaoubi, Mohammad Reza Jafari and Mohammad Fazeli.