First impressions matter: Brotherhood helps asylum seekers into work

‘Before I moved to Australia, I had no idea about interview skills or job-searching skills,’ said Abdullahi, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Somalia, a country in east Africa.

Abdullahi is part of a Brotherhood of St Laurence jobs program that has helped 230 asylum seekers who have work rights into employment since July 2013.

The success of Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers is built on the partnerships the program has forged with a range of businesses and non-profits.

Wear for Success, a Melbourne non-profit that offers free clothes to disadvantaged job-seekers, works with the Brotherhood to ensure asylum seekers look their best when searching for employment.

‘I got my first job through the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Wear for Success,’ said Abdullahi at a recent fitting at Wear for Success, where interview tips and job-search advice are freely provided alongside the suits and shoes.

If the tie fits! From left to right: Given the Chance member Abdhullahi, Brotherhood support worker Ahmad, Given the Chance member Yasa, Wear for Success volunteer Alan.

Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers has filled a service gap by helping asylum seekers living in the community find paid employment so they can support themselves.

The innovative program currently has around 500 asylum seekers being supported by the Brotherhood to look for and maintain job opportunities. There is waiting list of a further 185 people.

The Brotherhood's approach is deeply practical: the organisation provides mentoring, life and job-readiness skills and English classes and works very closely with employers to fill vacancies in areas where workers are needed.

For more information on Given the Chance for Asylum Seekers phone (03) 9288 9904.

More information on the Brotherhood's work with refugees and asylum seekers is available on our website.

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The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.