Migrants receive a helping hand

SECURING employment and contributing to the local community is a fundamental element of a migrant’s ability to settle in Tasmania, Australian Red Cross Migration Support Program manager Dean Barker says.

“Australian Red Cross is involved in various social cohesion projects in Tasmania through the ‘Here to Contribute’ work undertaken by staff and volunteers in Migrant Support Programs,” he said.

“These programs include community education and awareness sessions with school and adult groups, focusing on human rights and people seeking asylum.

“We also operate a Migrant Mentoring Program where local people with some employment or business experience and networks assist migrants in their search for work.”

Delivered with both federal and state government support, Mr Barker said the mentoring program provided a “fantastic extra level of assistance” for newly arrived migrants

“It creates lasting friendships and social networks for people, as well as direct help with job hunting,” he said.

“People may also be eligible for other employment-related support such as Job Active, Migrant Resource Centre or the Safe Haven Hub.

“These are valuable and are complemented by the mentor program, helping people one-on-one on a very human level.”

Mr Barker said there were many proven benefits for employers to build a diverse work force.

“Whether international students, people on working visas or refugees, migrants generally are a part of the reason for Tasmania’s current prosperity,” he said.

“If we want to keep people here in Tasmania, we need to create a welcoming environment that includes opportunities to work and study.

“Red Cross are grateful for the government support that enables programs such as this – everybody benefits.”

Red Cross is also providing employers, businesses or agencies with Introductory Multicultural Competence Training.

This training is currently being delivered free-of-charge thanks to funding from the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

It includes a two-hour program delivered either at the Australian Red Cross office in Melville Street, Hobart or on site for businesses or agencies.

The session examines Australia’s immigration history, the current makeup of the Australian population and practical tips for communicating and understanding the perspectives of migrants generally.

The training is designed to be interactive and fun and to whet the appetite for further explorations of fascinating cultural diversity.

Red Cross invites people with established industry networks to become volunteer mentors.

They are particularly keen to have mentors with accounting, IT or other professional experience and people with hospitality and care sector backgrounds to participate.

Red Cross also invites enquiries regarding multicultural competency.

The Migration Support Program team can be contacted on (03) 6235 6077 or via email at tasmsphub@redcross.org.au.

Caption: Australian Red Cross staff member Asif Akbari, left, with a student volunteer from the University of Tasmania.