Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
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News from AMES Australia

20 December 20170 comments

Read about the latest news, research and initiatives from migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia…


AMES Australia jobseekers making great leaps in digital literacy

Jobseekers registered at AMES Australia have been learning digital literacy skills through the Learner Engagement AFrame Program (LEAP), a new initiative by ACFE.

The jobseekers who are referred to this program are identified by AMES Australia work brokers as having low digital literacy skills and as individuals who would benefit from these short, sharp targeted courses.

The courses include learning to navigate the myGov website as wells as using the Centrelink mobile app and online jobseeking skills.

Stefhan Punt, the Industry and Client Manager at Flagstaff, works closely with the teacher Paulette Smythe to ensure that jobseekers are engaged in meaningful and useful activities to help them gain more confidence in accessing the online platform.

“The students in the program are from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities, but all are making fantastic progress in their digital literacy skills,” Paulette said.

“Many had not used computers before and are now familiar with using myGov, sending emails and browsing the internet, to mention just a few of the IT skills they are developing,” she said.


AMES graduate appointed to the VMC

AMES Australia graduate and spoken word artist Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa has been appointed as the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s new Youth Commissioner.

Sukhjit, who is among the three new Commissioners to the Victorian Multicultural Commission announced by the state government recently, said she was “excited and thrilled to be the new Youth Commissioner”.

She was a participant in AMES Australia’s ground-breaking course for leaders from CALD communities in the prevention of violence against women (PVAW) recently launched in Melbourne.

The course brought together 42 leaders from different language groups and communities to explore ways of combating family violence and building the capacity of leaders from CALD communities to be able to lead actions to reduce violence against women in their own communities and also in the broader Australian community.

“As a passionate community worker, I am excited to work with the Victorian Multicultural Commission and I really admire the work they do,” Sukhjit said.

Sukhjit, 23, became well known after her spoken word performance on Australia’s Got Talent
Since then she has been working to shine a light on discrimination and create opportunities for other young people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

“As a performer and a spoken word artist, I have been using my performance to highlight the issues being faced by young people in Australia. I have tried to highlight the important issues of human rights, equality, feminism in my work,” Sukhjit said.


AMES part of innovative breast screening project

AMES Australia Case Manager Rosanna Zetterberg was part of a team that were finalists in the 2017 VicHealth Awards.

Rosanna represented AMES Australia’s Dandenong site in project called ‘Overcoming Barriers to Breast Screening’ earlier this year.

Led by BreastScreen Victoria, the program aimed to reduce the barriers to breast screening and improve screening rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and CALD women in the Dandenong area.

BreastScreen Victoria recognised the need for tailored approaches to reach these women, so initiated partnerships with local services – including AMES Australia – to build a better understanding of their target audience’s needs.

The program also aimed to improve the capacity of local services to refer women to the screening service.

Rosanna said the project had been exciting and interesting to work on.

“Due to the success of the project, we are in the process of planning a similar project for the coming year,” she said.


Karen settlement at Nhill an example of inclusive recruitment practice

AMES Australia hosted a knowledge sharing seminar recently focused on the settlement of people from refugee or migrant backgrounds in regional locations and factors that support sustainable employment.

The seminar was part of the Victorian Government’s ‘Recruit Smarter’ initiative, which aims to target unconscious bias in recruitment processes. The Australian-first initiative brings together organisations across the public, private, non-government and research sectors in a multi-sector cooperative effort to find ways to address this issue.

Karen from refugee backgrounds have been settling in the Victorian regional town of Nhill since 2009, initially attracted by work at the local poultry processing business Luv-a-duck.  AMES Australia’s Research and Policy team with Deloitte Access Economics undertook an analysis of the economic and social impact of this initiative, and the seminar shared insight into the results of inclusive recruitment of a diverse workforce of migrants and refugees.

AMES Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Belinda McLennan, told the seminar that AMES had been working closely with the Karen since they began resettling in Australia in large numbers, particularly in the Werribee area in the west of Melbourne.

“What happened to this township – Nhill – provides some insights for inclusive recruitment and for the economic and social returns that can accrue to the workplace and broader community as a result,” Belinda said.

Matt Wright and Tom Betts from Deloitte Access Economics, who undertook the economic assessment of the Karen resettlement on a pro bono basis, also spoke at the event about the high level economic impact it had had in Nhill.

John and Margaret Millington, who first employed Karen refugees at Luv-a-duck told the seminar of their first-hand experience recruiting Karen employees and their families and supporting their settlement in the local community.

“It’s wonderful to be able to share the story of the Karen at Nhill. The experience has been a positive one for the Karen and their presence among us has enriched our entire community,” John said.