Seeking asylum leads to rewarding job pathway

A successful electrical engineer in Iran, Mohammed was forced to leave his wife and children behind and flee for his life. Political unrest saw him escape to Australia by boat.

Mohammed at work at the Social Enterprise warehouse

Mohammed received casework support from AMES (Adult Multicultural Education Services) after he was released from detention, which included help to search for housing, as well as basic necessities. But he struggled to find employment or any training opportunities. 

In June 2014, Mohammed was referred to the Brotherhood of St Laurence's Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers program by his AMES case worker. Here, he received career coaching advice and was able to look into opportunities for his prior work as an electrical engineer to be recognised in Australia. 

Unfortunately, without being a permanent resident, it became clear this would be unlikely to happen.
We started working with Mohammed to find other work. His employment consultant at Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers suggested volunteering to gain more skills and experience in Australia and get more opportunities to get paid work. Mohammed agreed and began volunteering at the Brotherhood last August.

Mohammed really enjoyed volunteering for the Brotherhood and constantly thought up new ways he could further support the organisation. Soon, he not only volunteered in the Sunshine warehouse, but also in the new Hoppers Crossing community store.

In the meantime, the Brotherhood continued to support Mohammed to apply for paid work in warehousing and helped him with his job applications, including support with preparing resumes, cover letters and interview training. 

Last October, a role became available at the Brotherhood warehouse in Sunshine and Mohammed applied for it. As he was already volunteering at the warehouse it was a no-brainer and he got the job.

Whenever his employment consultant asks him how he is going, Mohammed never talks about how he is getting on with the job. He talks about how the business is going! Mohammed always knows exactly for how much the second-hand goods can be sold for and keeps a close eye on new opportunities. Whenever he can he will try to find ways to support the Brotherhood. 

He continues to be very grateful and thankful for the opportunities given to him. Working at the Brotherhood is a way for him to give back to the community, after the support he received when he was in need. 
After having worked at Sunshine for almost five months, Mohammed has proven his skill and his enthusiasm. His efforts saw him named Employee of the Month in February.

Mohammed is also starting to look to his future again. He is getting positive news from his lawyer and he is expecting to receive his permanent residency shortly. He is still very keen to further develop himself and wants to undertake a Master's degree. 

It is his dream to one day complete his PhD in Australia in electrical engineering – and to reunite with his family again.

For more information, phone Angus Blackburn on (03) 9288 9904 or email ablackburn(at)bsl.org.au 

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