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

7 June 20180 comments

SPMP mentor report launched

AMES Australia recently launched a research report examining the success of the mentor program in the Skilled Professional Migrant Program (SPMP).

The research showed that all mentors reported that their involvement in the program broadened their own knowledge base, culturally or professionally, in a way that could not be achieved through professional practice.

AMES Australia Chief Operating Officer Belinda McLennan told the launch event that for most people, finding that first job is the key to getting on a pathway to true economic and social participation in our society.

“Another thing we know is that for many people new to this country – and particularly for professionally qualified migrants and refugees – there can be significant challenges and barriers to finding meaningful work in their fields,” Belinda said.

She said the study showed the success of the SPMP mentoring program was clear.

“All of our mentees reported an improvement in their personal and professional development skills; and, they all reported a broadened cultural and professional knowledge base,” Ms McLennan said.

“The mentoring is also helping to harness the skills and cultural knowledge migrants bring with them – and it is bridging the cultural divide faced by some migrants relaunching their careers in Australia,” she said.

“We think this study shows a need for increased investment in programs like the SPMP to improve migrant inclusion in the workforce as well as engaging more employers and stakeholders,” Ms McLennan said.

AMES welcomes shadow immigration minister

AMES Australia welcomed Shadow Minister for Immigration Shayne Neumann to our Flagstaff site last week.

The shadow minister met AMES Australia jobactive staff members and visited SEE and vocational training classes.

He met with AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth and staff members running the Community Support Program (CSP), a private sponsorship program for refugees and people in humanitarian situations overseas.

The shadow minister was interested to hear AMES Australia’s perspective on the program and ways in which it could be improved.

The CSP harnesses community support for refugees, including the willingness of the Australian business community to support refugees in practical ways through employment.

Under the CSP, Australian supporters – through Approved Proposing Organisations such as AMES Australia – are required to demonstrate they are able to provide adequate support to enable new arrivals to achieve financial self-sufficiency within their first year in Australia.

The shadow minister also met a group of professionally qualified refugees from Syrian and Iraq who are facing barriers in getting their qualifications recognised and also finding a first job.

The visit was part of AMES Australia’s ongoing strategy to engage with stakeholder in the community and at all levels of government who have an interest in positive settlement outcomes.

Kartini Day in Melbourne

Indonesian women living in Melbourne recently celebrated Kartini Day, which celebrates the life of women’s rights activist Raden Ajeng Kartini and is a reminder of the equality that women in Indonesia have achieved over generations.

This year, to celebrate the day, the Australia Indonesia Youth Association brought to cinemas across the country 2017’s biggest Indonesian film. Titled ‘Kartini’, the film tells the story of the Indonesian women’s emancipation heroine. The screening in Melbourne was sold out.

AMES Australia Customer Service Officer Anita Halliday attended the event. She said that traditional costume is worn on Kartini Day – known as Kebaya Kartini.

“This is the type of kebaya – or traditional blouse-dress – worn by aristocratic Javanese women, especially during the lifetime of Raden Ajeng Kartin,” Anita said.

She said that Kartini day was similar to International Women’s Day and focused on the issue of the empowerment of women.

All across Indonesia, female students and teachers in schools dress in Kebaya, while the male students dress in Batik. Various competitions such as fashion shows, cooking competitions and flower arrangement competitions are held to enliven the commemoration.

Kartini was committed to improving the lives and opportunities of women and her husband supported her to establish a school for Javanese girls in the 1900s.

With help from the Dutch government, in 1903 she opened her first Indonesian primary school for native girls that did not discriminate based on their social status.

The school taught girls a progressive, Western-based curriculum. Kartini believed the ideal education for a young woman encouraged empowerment and enlightenment.

AMES’ breast screening effort to feature at world conference

A pioneering project to increase breast screening rates in migrant communities that AMES Australia helped deliver will be the subject of a presentation at the World Cancer Congress later this year.

Titled, ‘Can cross-sector partnerships increase breast cancer screening in hard to reach migrant populations’, the presentation will outline how AMES Australia partnered with Breast Screening Victoria (BSV) to increase awareness of breast screening in emerging migrant communities and also to provide a culturally safe environment for women to access breast screening.

The ‘Under-screened’ project was delivered in the Dandenong area in March 2017. The project was coordinated by Rosanna Zetterberg, a Senior Case Manager, who has since left AMES.

Eighty-five per cent of the women screened during the project were screened for the first time and may never have had a breast screen but for the project.

An AMES Australia case manager said under-screened populations were those that faced systemic barriers to participation in cancer screening programs.

“Barriers to screening can include stigma, cultural and psychosocial factors, access and availability,” he said.

“We also worked with the HSP Team in Footscray to engage HSP clients. We had a very successful outcome where many SRSS and HSP clients received mammograms and breast cancer education,” he said.

BSV has indicated it would like to partner with AMES Australia to deliver similar breast check projects throughout Victoria.

The World Cancer Congress will be held in Kuala Lumpur in October.

Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist