Employment & Training: Try, Test and Learn

  09 October, 2020  ·    Andrea Obeyesekere

The Try, Test and Learn program is designed to develop the individual participants’ skills knowledge and confidence to either gain employment or commence their own business.

Centacare Multicultural Service has workspace set up specifically to meet the needs of the participants’, including training rooms for educational workshops, sewing equipment for textiles and upholstery projects, and a skills focused carpentry workshop with equipment used to train participants in the upcycling of household items or building small timber items. The participants are encouraged to learn work-place English and are supported by bi-cultural employment and training workers who, as part of the program team, ensure the service operates in a culturally enriching environment. The program is far reaching across the region with participants from new and emerging migrant communities including the Arakanese, Burmese, Congolese and more established communities including PNG, Pacifica - Tonga, Samoa, Indian Sikh, Burmese Muslim, Chinese, Indian and Sri Lankan.

Following a COVID-19 forced break, participant numbers have rapidly grown with 44 registered participants coming on board in August with 5 real employment outcomes in less than two months. The program intention is to recruit a minimum of 180 participants by June 2021. We have over 20 participants working in simulated work environments each week, 15 participants are engaged in Workplace English programs weekly, and there is growing demand for soft skill employment support including putting together competitive resumes, having mock interview practice and receiving employment and job seeker fashion consultations. Participants have come for CALD friendly employment support due to the rising unemployment in the region and the impact of COVID-19 on the economy in traditionally high migrant employment areas such as the Regional Tourism Industry. Contributing to the growing success and positive profile of this program are volunteers who have assisted in workshops including English literacy learning, wood-work, craft and textile.

Centacare FNQ is working hard collaborating with like-minded local providers within the employment and training space whilst also engaging with local Industry to ensure that we can access employment opportunities as they become available. Industry links are keen to engage, to maximise opportunities for this demographic particularly in regional agricultural settings which pre-Covid 19 were supported by Tourism and the Pacific Labour Scheme. A small group of participants are in a farm work program where it is highly likely they will gain full time employment in the agricultural sector. The early successes of this program has drawn interest from other Cairns and FNQ based migrant communities.
These gaps in opportunities are being identified by an Employment Savvy team who see local collaboration as a primary focus to grow employment and training opportunities for CALD communities in the region.

Centacare FNQ has positively employed young, bilingual employment and training workers to engage with the CALD youth aged between 18-25 who are facing rising employment and training challenges in the region. During October and November  our primary focus will be youth engagement to the program with the aim being to work closely with youth to co-design program delivery to this age group so that the program compliments their skill set, interest and supports them to actively engage with regional industry. 

You can get in touch with the Employment & Training team by calling (07) 4242 1058 or emailing [email protected].

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