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New initiative streamlining refugee settlement

22 April 20201 comment

Refugees are being supported to settle and find work faster and more sustainably thanks to a new settlement support initiative that better coordinates services supporting new arrivals.

The initiative, developed by migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia, uses a wrap-around approach that sees settlement, education and employment services work simultaneously to achieve positive settlement outcomes for refugees.

The Individual Pathways Plan (IPP) Building Skills to Work program is being rolled out at AMES Australia sites across Victoria and has already achieved dozens of job placements.

AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth said that finding employment was single most critical factor in successful settlement for refugees and migrants.

“The aim was to integrate and innovate and get all of the service areas working better together and we have achieved that. The IPP is delivering faster and better settlement outcomes through hard work and teamwork,” Ms Scarth said.

“We are also seeing the clients embrace it. They find it easier and they don’t need to tell their stories multiple times to people supporting them in the different service branches, such as education and employment. We’ve essentially created a ‘one stop shop’ for settling refugee clients,” she said.

“Clients who might have just focused initially on learning English are now thinking about where they ultimately want to go in terms of education, training or employment, in some case from day one,” Ms Scarth said.

Iranian refugee Armin Bakhshi has secured work just months after arriving in Australia with limited English. He was fast tracked into work through the IPP Building Skills to Work Program.

Armin and his family arrived in Australia in September 2019 on a humanitarian visa. In Iran, he was persecuted over political issues. As a result, he had few employment opportunities there. But he spent six years as a displaced person in Turkey, where he worked servicing air conditioners.

Initially, Armin was focusing on his English and was a full time student but the IPP program gave him the opportunity to start thinking about potential work pathways.

“Armin is a young man who wants to support his family and find work so he was activated early and came on the AMES Australia’s ‘jobactive’ employment services caseload,” Ms Scarth said.

His experience in Turkey means he has good mechanical skills, so he’s been referred to the next Certificate II course in Electrical Technology at the Chisolm Institute

In the meantime Armin has been supported to find a job as a delivery driver in food services. AMES staff assisted him gaining an ABN and Tax File Number and the required licences.

He is keen to improve his English through customer service exposure and move on with his life.

“I am very happy to have a job and I’m planning to move on with my life in Australia. AMES has been very helpful to me,” Armin said.

“I want to continue my studies and become an electrician so I can get a job that is full time so that I can build a new life for my family,” he said.