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Casey Brown is General Manager for Agri Labour Australia, a large rural-sector labour-hire company with a
strong track record in supporting new arrivals into rural employment.
In 2009, Agri Labour Australia worked in partnership with Warwick TAFE to set up a skills-training and
employment pipeline for recently arrived migrants and refugees to explore employment opportunities in the
bush. The program brought together accredited Jackaroo/Jillaroo training with ‘work readiness’ support,
then Casey linked program graduates to employment opportunities.
“The resource boom has taken a lot of skills out of these regions, and the rural sector has dwindled away.
There are generational farmers…where the younger generation don’t want to farm anymore.”
He believes that new arrivals offer the perfect solution to reinvigorate regional communities while allowing
generational farmers to hold onto their businesses. “For newly arrived Australians, getting into work is the
best thing. In regional Australia, there are still so many opportunities,” he said.
Casey says the success of programs like the Warwick TAFE partnership offer important insights into ‘what
works’. For Casey, success isn’t just putting someone into a job. “The pre-employment training is really
important, just helping recent arrivals build a basic understanding of what’s expected and how to act when
you’re employed [in Australia].” Casey also says that settlement support is a vital ingredient for sustainable
outcomes for new arrivals and host communities alike.
“…the best thing for the communities that refugee workers have brought…is to try and integrate as much
as possible, and by integrate I mean getting their children to go to the local schools, playing the local sports,
attending local churches. Millmerran is a prime example where they have done that. In the afternoon, you’ll
see all the young Karen children in their school uniforms walking alongside local Millmerran kids…and it’s
great sight, it’s a great thing to see,” he said.
Migrants and refugees the perfect solution to rural
Queensland’s labour challenges
Multicultural Development Association
Saw Patrick Maw (Patrick), an ethic Karen from Burma, was an active leader in a Sydney-
based partnership that brought together Centrelink, a Job Services Australia (JSA) provider,
the TAFE sector, farms and fruit and vegetable wholesalers to create an accredited training
and employment pathway program for former refugees from Sydney’s Karen community.
Farmerinvolvementcameintheformoflandleaseagreements,allowingtheKarencommunity
tosubletsmallportionsoflandtonewlytrainedfarmers.Farmerscouldthenselltheirproduce
directly to fruit and vegetable shops for fair market prices.
Patrick says that programs like this come as a huge benefit to the community, especially older
people who struggle to acquire English and have few employment alternatives, contributing
to negative mental health and welfare dependency. “It is very hard for them with the English
and the age. If projects like this happen to go ahead in Queensland, many of the older people
would love to get into it,” said Patrick. “Not only this would benefit the people, it would benefit
the government.”
Now based in Brisbane, Patrick and the Queensland
Karen community are already exploring ways
to launch a similar program here, and
believe Queensland provides the perfect
environment in terms of climate and
available employment opportunities.
“(We’ve) had discussions in Brisbane.
They’re interested in having a whole
farm that just grows chilli. Chilli is quite
expensive. It’s productive and profitable.
It’s a good place for it here, humid and
warm like Thailand and Burma. If you farm
them the right way, they really grow,” he
said.
Innovative Partnerships with Refugee Communities for
Profitable Farm Production
Multicultural Development Association
Bill Dargell is the owner and manager of Fitzroy Nursery, a Rockhampton-based business that cultivates
and sells plants for domestic and commercial uses. The business has been in the Dargell family for more
than fifty years.
“My father started this in the fifties. We’ve been around a long time and we’re second generation managers,
me and my two brothers,” said Mr Dargell.
With the natural resource industry having gained a
stronghold throughout the neighbouring Bowen Basin
and in nearby processing and port facilities at Gladstone,
Bill has noticed a shift in the motivations and attitudes
of local residents in terms of how they engage with the
employment market.
“It certainly can be difficult hiring people from the local
community,” said Bill. “Our local people are used to hearing
about people going out to the mines, and getting key places
in the building game and that sort of thing. Now they’re all
expecting way more money.”
Bill turned his attention to the possibility of
engaging migrants and refugees
as employees after noticing
increasing numbers
of new arrivals living
in the community. He
contacted the Multicultural
Development Association in
Rockhampton and has been
working with MDA since to fill
his labour shortage.
“We came to MDA and had a
quick chat, they found us what
we wanted, and we had three or four guys
lined up who we employed,” Bill said.
Bill has been impressed by the attitude and eagerness of his
new migrant and refugee employees.
“They’re very good, very keen, obviously the language can
be an issue, but once we get our message across, [it’s] no
problem,” he said.
New arrivals fill regional job gaps as long-term locals turn to the
resource industry
Multicultural Development Association
EddyIlesisanemploymentcaseworkerwiththeMulticulturalDevelopmentAssociation’sToowoombaoffice.
A long-term Toowoomba local, Eddy has also amassed a lot of experience over the years assisting different
groups of disadvantaged job seekers into employment in Toowoomba and surrounding areas.
AsToowoombacontinuestogrowinitsculturaldiversity,Eddyseesaformidablesetofskillswhichhebelieves
will gain increasing traction with local employers.
“There’sareallybroadrangeofskills(amongsttherefugeeclientsIsupport)…there’sprimaryschoolteachers,
secondary school teachers, we have business people, we’ve had general labourers, we’ve had people from
civil engineering backgrounds, so there’s a whole range of different skill sets,” Eddy said.
“Very often what we also find is that people are multi-skilled, because they’ve had to maintain 4 or 5 different
jobs to maintain an income to survive in other countries. So they’re not just an agricultural labourer, they’re
also a construction worker or retail operator,” he said.
But Eddy believes that there is another set of ‘soft skills’ which adds further value to migrants and refugees as
job candidates.
“I think when employers experience the enthusiasm and motivational side of things, that’s going to make or
break refugee and asylum seekers getting into the labour market. Their preparedness to just get down, do the
work they need to do, get paid, go home and that’s it…is going to appeal to a lot of employers.”
Eddy also believes that refugees and migrants are a perfect labour pool to address labour shortages in the
rural sector if they are supported to access these opportunities. But
to make rural work placements sustainable, there needs to be
strategic engagement with rural communities so they are
prepared to host refugee and migrant workers, and to
welcome them into the community.
“The community has to be ready to accept them,”
Eddy said. “It’s about saying to the community, ‘If
these fifteen people say they want to relocate to your
community, what sort of resources will they be able to
access? What sort of reception are they likely to come
across?Howcanwemakethatprocessoftransitionthe
best for [the local community] and for the group? What
do both sides need to make this work?’” he said.
New arrivals bring diverse skills and strong work ethic
Multicultural Development Association
“You get the best people, you get the best business.”
ThisisthebusinessphilosophyofPaulKahlert,GeneralManagerofQueenslandlogisticscompanyAllPurpose
Transport.
Paul recognised the potential benefits of employing refugees and migrants after attending a youth
employment forum hosted by Multicultural Development Association (MDA) in 2012.
“The thing that struck me is that I’ve never seen the enthusiasm or the willingness to work that I saw among
the young people I met at the forum,” he said.
“Once I saw that, I knew where I was going to get my productivity from,
and that’s going to ensure the survival of the business.”
He has since hired two former refugees from Afghanistan and is
delighted by their talent and commitment to their work.
Paul also sees young people from migrant and refugee
backgrounds as one potential solution to labour shortages
resulting from Australia’s ageing population.
“We need to have a new workforce coming through. The
Australianpopulationisageingsoquickly,ifwedon’t
get ourselves prepared for this, we won’t have
anyone to drive our trucks or to move stuff
in our warehouses,” he said. “I’m doing
this [recruiting workers from migrant and
refugee backgrounds] because we want a
good solid workforce and at the moment
there’s very much a shrinkage going on.”
Moving forward, Paul hopes to build
on his relationship with MDA to source
talented job candidates. “I’d like to
think that MDA can serve as a pipeline
for talent to come into the business.”
Refugees – an untapped labour force
Multicultural Development Association
Vivienne McDonald is General Manager of Diversicare, an aged care service currently providing culturally
competent, in-home aged care across forty-nine different cultural and linguistic groups between the Gold
and Sunshine Coasts.
Wherever possible, Diversicare strives to directly match its services with clients’ language and cultural needs
through its pool of around 300 bicultural workers. Culturally-competent care is important and helps identify
needs and issues such as sourcing culturally-appropriate food and ways for elderly people to connect with
their cultural communities.
“A lot of people can get up and about and do things, and want to get out in ways that allow them to connect
to their communities. They want to dance or go to festivals, so there’s a gap there,” Vivienne says. “There’s
[also] a gap for people sourcing certain types of cultural foods…They don’t want ‘Meals on Wheels - meat
and three veg’-type meals. They’re simple gaps, but that’s the feedback we’re getting.”
Vivienne sees a correlation between the emergence of new cultural groups and the difficulties in sourcing
appropriatecarers.Thisdifficultyisexacerbatedbyfinancialbarriersasmanynewarrivalsareunderfinancial
strain, and course fees are deterring some people from aged care as a vocational pathway.
Vivienne’s organisation has responded by supporting new carers to gain their Certificate 3 in aged care while
they work.
Vivienne says, “We have home care workers (from culturally diverse backgrounds) who have been working
with us for 25 years... The retention is good because people
workwiththeircommunitiesandliveintheircommunities.
But they get paid by us. That’s a good thing.”
But Vivienne also believes that funded accredited
training options for vulnerable new job seekers
is on the decline, and that this should be
reconsidered given the rapidly expanding
depth and breadth of needs for older people.
Bringing affordable and quality care to Queensland’s ageing
population
Multicultural Development Association
“In our culture, you don’t put elderly people into aged care. It’s a cultural thing where your parents
look after you and then later on, vice versa.”
This is the context for aged care, Liberian style, according to former Liberian refugee and MDA
Community Development worker, Joyce Taylor.
In Liberian culture, “…once you’re above the age of 30, everyone calls you ‘auntie’ or ‘uncle’. We all
share care,” Joyce said.
With Queensland’s ageing population emerging as an issue that poses a challenge for our whole
community, Joyce says that caring for African Queenslanders in their old age adds a new dimension
due to the cultural obligation of the younger generation to continue to look after their elders as they
age.
Joyce says many younger African people are already exercising their care responsibilities informally,
which makes it difficult for the younger generation to further their education or to earn a full-time
living outside the home.
But Joyce says many of these same informal carers are already experienced carers in their native
countries.
“A way to look at it is that we’re aged care workers
anyway, in our own ways. A lot of people do that in their
homes. They don’t put their parents into aged care. So
in thirty years time, we’ll have a lot of Liberian and
[other] African elderly people living in the community.
Since they won’t be in aged care, it means the next
generation will be doing aged care and continuing to
struggle to pay the bills. So why don’t we give them
those skills. You know, so they can earn an income
from fulfilling this important duty,” Joyce said.
Joyce not only believes the solution rests in
improving the accessibility of accredited
aged-care training pathways for younger
African people, but says that multicultural
perspectives are needed to develop new
models of care, with a particular focus
on in-home care arrangements.
“If someone from my own cultural
backgroundopensanagedcarehomeor
canvisitmyfamily,I’dratherputmyown
Mum in there with the understanding
she’ll be well looked after according to
her cultural values,” Joyce said.
Aged care dreaming with an African twist
Multicultural Development Association
Leaving the safety and familiarity of high school to find a place in world is a time of trepidation
for many students, but even more so for students who have migrated to Australia from overseas.
Jessica Walker, Head of ESL at Yeronga State High School, knows the challenges migrant and
refugee young people face in education and thinks educators can play an important role by
supporting them to prepare for and transition into the Australian workforce.
“Students who are born in Australia have this huge network of people who have lots of different
jobs, so they can go and draw on some of those connections to get work experience or even
just to know what sort of work is out there, whereas our students don’t have that,”Jessica says.
Developing school-based programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse students to
build the networks and connections that Australian-born students already have, is crucial to
creating an inclusive labour market for Queensland’s next generation of bright minds.
“There was a boy last year who did some work experience with a mechanic and they offered
him a full-time apprenticeship.There was another boy who did [an automotive work experience
placement], and someone, like a friend who was a plumber, saw him and how hard he was
working and offered him a full-time plumbing apprenticeship,”says Jessica.
“It’s always when they have those links with people and people see them in action, that’s what
leads to work. It’s about the connections, where people feel they need these people and have a
relationship with them.That’s what leads
to jobs.”
Jessica also says school-based vocational
pathways need to account for other
barriers to employment experienced
by some CALD students, including
work opportunities that do not rely on
advanced numeracy and literacy skills.
“We’ve got automotive pathways and
construction, but it’s the students who
don’t have the skills to do that, they’re
the students who may be looking at
things like painting, perhaps bricklaying,
labouring, warehouse work, where
they’re not required to have the same
numeracy and literacy skills that you
need to have for things like construction
and automotive. …there are some
students who just don’t have the level
of (numeracy and literacy) skills to be
able to do those jobs. So that’s the group
we’re most concerned about. Because
afterhighschool,whatisthereforthem?”
Bringing education and employment together for a
brighter future
Multicultural Development Association
Brisbane’s Afghan Community & A Local School Benefit from
Hazaragi Language Classes
Inter-generational conflict is a common issue in migrant families, because children typically pick up English
language and Australian cultural norms faster than their parents, while the development of their mother
tongue stalls.
Ali Karimi is a former refugee from Afghanistan, President of the Hazara Association of Australia, a small
business owner-operator, as well as Community Development Worker at the Multicultural Development
Association. Noticing this issue emerging in his community prompted Mr Karimi and the Brisbane Hazara
community to start a Hazara school, to help children to learn Hazaragi language and culture, alongside
their Australian schooling.
Mr Karimi explains that misunderstandings based on a language barrier between parent and child are
interpreted differently by children, with children feeling their parents don’t care.
“Within 2 or 3 years of our community starting to arrive here, the kids started to experience a lot of
problems with their parents. They would ask their mum,‘Mum, bring me some salt please’. The mum, might
be looking for something else and bring a glass of water. The kid says‘no, no, salt’. This causes problems…”
“This is when we started Sunday schooling. It means that as the younger children grow up, they will have
an understanding of their mother language, what is the word for salt, what is the word for water.”
Mr Karimi approached a local State school for support and they provided a space for the Hazara children’s
school. “I went to the Education Department and the Department asked me if I could highlight locations
that give good access to the community. They then referred me to the school principal at Junction Park,
and they kindly offered two or three rooms [for the Hazara school],”says Mr Karimi.
The school has now been running on Sundays for eight
years, teaching Hazaragi language levels one, two and
three, as well as some cultural and religious values. It
continues to thrive due to strong community support.
Teachers are volunteers from the community, and
parents support by ensuring their children attend
and by paying for stationary.
Mr Karimi says it is leading to better relationships
between children and their parents, because
they can speak Hazaragi at home.
“If the kids can’t communicate with
their parents, they lose interest
in the household. Without it,
there needs to be an interpreter
for each family. [But with
the school] there is better
understanding,”Mr Karimi
says.
Multicultural Development Association
Seventeen-year-old Frozan Sadat arrived in Australia three years ago as a refugee from Afghanistan.
Frozan, like many other young former refugees, has endured experiences during her childhood and
adolescence far beyond those normally encountered by young people. This difficult past has left its
scars but it has also equipped Frozan, and other young people like her, with a world view and vision
well beyond her years. This makes Frozan a natural leader.
Frozan believes that building a strong and inclusive Queensland community requires building bridges
between smaller, disconnected communities so that dialogue
and mutual understanding are allowed to grow.
“By moving away from thinking always in terms
of‘me’and‘you’, we will work it out. It’s not the
thought of‘me’and‘you’. It’s the thought of‘us’, or
‘we’. If we all think only in terms of‘me’and‘you’,
Australia’s gone,”Frozan says.
She has the goal of developing school-based
programs that encourage stronger connections
between young people from different cultural
backgrounds in the school-yard context.
“We all have strengths and weaknesses. Maybe
the strengths I have are different to those
from someone else born and raised
here, and the strengths and skills
that they have, having been
raised in this country, are
strengths I don’t have,”Frozan
says.
“If I interact with them
somehow and get
to know them and
recognise their
problems, and how
their problems exist
according to their
experiences, and if
they understand
why we are here –
which is their main
question,‘why are
you here?’– maybe
we can give a hand
to each other somehow.
Not just this divide where
they think,‘oh, they’re new
arrivals’, or we think,‘oh, they have
problems I don’t have’.”
Getting the unity back into community in a multicultural
Queensland
Multicultural Development Association

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Queensland Plan_Migrant Stories

  • 1. Casey Brown is General Manager for Agri Labour Australia, a large rural-sector labour-hire company with a strong track record in supporting new arrivals into rural employment. In 2009, Agri Labour Australia worked in partnership with Warwick TAFE to set up a skills-training and employment pipeline for recently arrived migrants and refugees to explore employment opportunities in the bush. The program brought together accredited Jackaroo/Jillaroo training with ‘work readiness’ support, then Casey linked program graduates to employment opportunities. “The resource boom has taken a lot of skills out of these regions, and the rural sector has dwindled away. There are generational farmers…where the younger generation don’t want to farm anymore.” He believes that new arrivals offer the perfect solution to reinvigorate regional communities while allowing generational farmers to hold onto their businesses. “For newly arrived Australians, getting into work is the best thing. In regional Australia, there are still so many opportunities,” he said. Casey says the success of programs like the Warwick TAFE partnership offer important insights into ‘what works’. For Casey, success isn’t just putting someone into a job. “The pre-employment training is really important, just helping recent arrivals build a basic understanding of what’s expected and how to act when you’re employed [in Australia].” Casey also says that settlement support is a vital ingredient for sustainable outcomes for new arrivals and host communities alike. “…the best thing for the communities that refugee workers have brought…is to try and integrate as much as possible, and by integrate I mean getting their children to go to the local schools, playing the local sports, attending local churches. Millmerran is a prime example where they have done that. In the afternoon, you’ll see all the young Karen children in their school uniforms walking alongside local Millmerran kids…and it’s great sight, it’s a great thing to see,” he said. Migrants and refugees the perfect solution to rural Queensland’s labour challenges Multicultural Development Association
  • 2. Saw Patrick Maw (Patrick), an ethic Karen from Burma, was an active leader in a Sydney- based partnership that brought together Centrelink, a Job Services Australia (JSA) provider, the TAFE sector, farms and fruit and vegetable wholesalers to create an accredited training and employment pathway program for former refugees from Sydney’s Karen community. Farmerinvolvementcameintheformoflandleaseagreements,allowingtheKarencommunity tosubletsmallportionsoflandtonewlytrainedfarmers.Farmerscouldthenselltheirproduce directly to fruit and vegetable shops for fair market prices. Patrick says that programs like this come as a huge benefit to the community, especially older people who struggle to acquire English and have few employment alternatives, contributing to negative mental health and welfare dependency. “It is very hard for them with the English and the age. If projects like this happen to go ahead in Queensland, many of the older people would love to get into it,” said Patrick. “Not only this would benefit the people, it would benefit the government.” Now based in Brisbane, Patrick and the Queensland Karen community are already exploring ways to launch a similar program here, and believe Queensland provides the perfect environment in terms of climate and available employment opportunities. “(We’ve) had discussions in Brisbane. They’re interested in having a whole farm that just grows chilli. Chilli is quite expensive. It’s productive and profitable. It’s a good place for it here, humid and warm like Thailand and Burma. If you farm them the right way, they really grow,” he said. Innovative Partnerships with Refugee Communities for Profitable Farm Production Multicultural Development Association
  • 3. Bill Dargell is the owner and manager of Fitzroy Nursery, a Rockhampton-based business that cultivates and sells plants for domestic and commercial uses. The business has been in the Dargell family for more than fifty years. “My father started this in the fifties. We’ve been around a long time and we’re second generation managers, me and my two brothers,” said Mr Dargell. With the natural resource industry having gained a stronghold throughout the neighbouring Bowen Basin and in nearby processing and port facilities at Gladstone, Bill has noticed a shift in the motivations and attitudes of local residents in terms of how they engage with the employment market. “It certainly can be difficult hiring people from the local community,” said Bill. “Our local people are used to hearing about people going out to the mines, and getting key places in the building game and that sort of thing. Now they’re all expecting way more money.” Bill turned his attention to the possibility of engaging migrants and refugees as employees after noticing increasing numbers of new arrivals living in the community. He contacted the Multicultural Development Association in Rockhampton and has been working with MDA since to fill his labour shortage. “We came to MDA and had a quick chat, they found us what we wanted, and we had three or four guys lined up who we employed,” Bill said. Bill has been impressed by the attitude and eagerness of his new migrant and refugee employees. “They’re very good, very keen, obviously the language can be an issue, but once we get our message across, [it’s] no problem,” he said. New arrivals fill regional job gaps as long-term locals turn to the resource industry Multicultural Development Association
  • 4. EddyIlesisanemploymentcaseworkerwiththeMulticulturalDevelopmentAssociation’sToowoombaoffice. A long-term Toowoomba local, Eddy has also amassed a lot of experience over the years assisting different groups of disadvantaged job seekers into employment in Toowoomba and surrounding areas. AsToowoombacontinuestogrowinitsculturaldiversity,Eddyseesaformidablesetofskillswhichhebelieves will gain increasing traction with local employers. “There’sareallybroadrangeofskills(amongsttherefugeeclientsIsupport)…there’sprimaryschoolteachers, secondary school teachers, we have business people, we’ve had general labourers, we’ve had people from civil engineering backgrounds, so there’s a whole range of different skill sets,” Eddy said. “Very often what we also find is that people are multi-skilled, because they’ve had to maintain 4 or 5 different jobs to maintain an income to survive in other countries. So they’re not just an agricultural labourer, they’re also a construction worker or retail operator,” he said. But Eddy believes that there is another set of ‘soft skills’ which adds further value to migrants and refugees as job candidates. “I think when employers experience the enthusiasm and motivational side of things, that’s going to make or break refugee and asylum seekers getting into the labour market. Their preparedness to just get down, do the work they need to do, get paid, go home and that’s it…is going to appeal to a lot of employers.” Eddy also believes that refugees and migrants are a perfect labour pool to address labour shortages in the rural sector if they are supported to access these opportunities. But to make rural work placements sustainable, there needs to be strategic engagement with rural communities so they are prepared to host refugee and migrant workers, and to welcome them into the community. “The community has to be ready to accept them,” Eddy said. “It’s about saying to the community, ‘If these fifteen people say they want to relocate to your community, what sort of resources will they be able to access? What sort of reception are they likely to come across?Howcanwemakethatprocessoftransitionthe best for [the local community] and for the group? What do both sides need to make this work?’” he said. New arrivals bring diverse skills and strong work ethic Multicultural Development Association
  • 5. “You get the best people, you get the best business.” ThisisthebusinessphilosophyofPaulKahlert,GeneralManagerofQueenslandlogisticscompanyAllPurpose Transport. Paul recognised the potential benefits of employing refugees and migrants after attending a youth employment forum hosted by Multicultural Development Association (MDA) in 2012. “The thing that struck me is that I’ve never seen the enthusiasm or the willingness to work that I saw among the young people I met at the forum,” he said. “Once I saw that, I knew where I was going to get my productivity from, and that’s going to ensure the survival of the business.” He has since hired two former refugees from Afghanistan and is delighted by their talent and commitment to their work. Paul also sees young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds as one potential solution to labour shortages resulting from Australia’s ageing population. “We need to have a new workforce coming through. The Australianpopulationisageingsoquickly,ifwedon’t get ourselves prepared for this, we won’t have anyone to drive our trucks or to move stuff in our warehouses,” he said. “I’m doing this [recruiting workers from migrant and refugee backgrounds] because we want a good solid workforce and at the moment there’s very much a shrinkage going on.” Moving forward, Paul hopes to build on his relationship with MDA to source talented job candidates. “I’d like to think that MDA can serve as a pipeline for talent to come into the business.” Refugees – an untapped labour force Multicultural Development Association
  • 6. Vivienne McDonald is General Manager of Diversicare, an aged care service currently providing culturally competent, in-home aged care across forty-nine different cultural and linguistic groups between the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Wherever possible, Diversicare strives to directly match its services with clients’ language and cultural needs through its pool of around 300 bicultural workers. Culturally-competent care is important and helps identify needs and issues such as sourcing culturally-appropriate food and ways for elderly people to connect with their cultural communities. “A lot of people can get up and about and do things, and want to get out in ways that allow them to connect to their communities. They want to dance or go to festivals, so there’s a gap there,” Vivienne says. “There’s [also] a gap for people sourcing certain types of cultural foods…They don’t want ‘Meals on Wheels - meat and three veg’-type meals. They’re simple gaps, but that’s the feedback we’re getting.” Vivienne sees a correlation between the emergence of new cultural groups and the difficulties in sourcing appropriatecarers.Thisdifficultyisexacerbatedbyfinancialbarriersasmanynewarrivalsareunderfinancial strain, and course fees are deterring some people from aged care as a vocational pathway. Vivienne’s organisation has responded by supporting new carers to gain their Certificate 3 in aged care while they work. Vivienne says, “We have home care workers (from culturally diverse backgrounds) who have been working with us for 25 years... The retention is good because people workwiththeircommunitiesandliveintheircommunities. But they get paid by us. That’s a good thing.” But Vivienne also believes that funded accredited training options for vulnerable new job seekers is on the decline, and that this should be reconsidered given the rapidly expanding depth and breadth of needs for older people. Bringing affordable and quality care to Queensland’s ageing population Multicultural Development Association
  • 7. “In our culture, you don’t put elderly people into aged care. It’s a cultural thing where your parents look after you and then later on, vice versa.” This is the context for aged care, Liberian style, according to former Liberian refugee and MDA Community Development worker, Joyce Taylor. In Liberian culture, “…once you’re above the age of 30, everyone calls you ‘auntie’ or ‘uncle’. We all share care,” Joyce said. With Queensland’s ageing population emerging as an issue that poses a challenge for our whole community, Joyce says that caring for African Queenslanders in their old age adds a new dimension due to the cultural obligation of the younger generation to continue to look after their elders as they age. Joyce says many younger African people are already exercising their care responsibilities informally, which makes it difficult for the younger generation to further their education or to earn a full-time living outside the home. But Joyce says many of these same informal carers are already experienced carers in their native countries. “A way to look at it is that we’re aged care workers anyway, in our own ways. A lot of people do that in their homes. They don’t put their parents into aged care. So in thirty years time, we’ll have a lot of Liberian and [other] African elderly people living in the community. Since they won’t be in aged care, it means the next generation will be doing aged care and continuing to struggle to pay the bills. So why don’t we give them those skills. You know, so they can earn an income from fulfilling this important duty,” Joyce said. Joyce not only believes the solution rests in improving the accessibility of accredited aged-care training pathways for younger African people, but says that multicultural perspectives are needed to develop new models of care, with a particular focus on in-home care arrangements. “If someone from my own cultural backgroundopensanagedcarehomeor canvisitmyfamily,I’dratherputmyown Mum in there with the understanding she’ll be well looked after according to her cultural values,” Joyce said. Aged care dreaming with an African twist Multicultural Development Association
  • 8. Leaving the safety and familiarity of high school to find a place in world is a time of trepidation for many students, but even more so for students who have migrated to Australia from overseas. Jessica Walker, Head of ESL at Yeronga State High School, knows the challenges migrant and refugee young people face in education and thinks educators can play an important role by supporting them to prepare for and transition into the Australian workforce. “Students who are born in Australia have this huge network of people who have lots of different jobs, so they can go and draw on some of those connections to get work experience or even just to know what sort of work is out there, whereas our students don’t have that,”Jessica says. Developing school-based programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse students to build the networks and connections that Australian-born students already have, is crucial to creating an inclusive labour market for Queensland’s next generation of bright minds. “There was a boy last year who did some work experience with a mechanic and they offered him a full-time apprenticeship.There was another boy who did [an automotive work experience placement], and someone, like a friend who was a plumber, saw him and how hard he was working and offered him a full-time plumbing apprenticeship,”says Jessica. “It’s always when they have those links with people and people see them in action, that’s what leads to work. It’s about the connections, where people feel they need these people and have a relationship with them.That’s what leads to jobs.” Jessica also says school-based vocational pathways need to account for other barriers to employment experienced by some CALD students, including work opportunities that do not rely on advanced numeracy and literacy skills. “We’ve got automotive pathways and construction, but it’s the students who don’t have the skills to do that, they’re the students who may be looking at things like painting, perhaps bricklaying, labouring, warehouse work, where they’re not required to have the same numeracy and literacy skills that you need to have for things like construction and automotive. …there are some students who just don’t have the level of (numeracy and literacy) skills to be able to do those jobs. So that’s the group we’re most concerned about. Because afterhighschool,whatisthereforthem?” Bringing education and employment together for a brighter future Multicultural Development Association
  • 9. Brisbane’s Afghan Community & A Local School Benefit from Hazaragi Language Classes Inter-generational conflict is a common issue in migrant families, because children typically pick up English language and Australian cultural norms faster than their parents, while the development of their mother tongue stalls. Ali Karimi is a former refugee from Afghanistan, President of the Hazara Association of Australia, a small business owner-operator, as well as Community Development Worker at the Multicultural Development Association. Noticing this issue emerging in his community prompted Mr Karimi and the Brisbane Hazara community to start a Hazara school, to help children to learn Hazaragi language and culture, alongside their Australian schooling. Mr Karimi explains that misunderstandings based on a language barrier between parent and child are interpreted differently by children, with children feeling their parents don’t care. “Within 2 or 3 years of our community starting to arrive here, the kids started to experience a lot of problems with their parents. They would ask their mum,‘Mum, bring me some salt please’. The mum, might be looking for something else and bring a glass of water. The kid says‘no, no, salt’. This causes problems…” “This is when we started Sunday schooling. It means that as the younger children grow up, they will have an understanding of their mother language, what is the word for salt, what is the word for water.” Mr Karimi approached a local State school for support and they provided a space for the Hazara children’s school. “I went to the Education Department and the Department asked me if I could highlight locations that give good access to the community. They then referred me to the school principal at Junction Park, and they kindly offered two or three rooms [for the Hazara school],”says Mr Karimi. The school has now been running on Sundays for eight years, teaching Hazaragi language levels one, two and three, as well as some cultural and religious values. It continues to thrive due to strong community support. Teachers are volunteers from the community, and parents support by ensuring their children attend and by paying for stationary. Mr Karimi says it is leading to better relationships between children and their parents, because they can speak Hazaragi at home. “If the kids can’t communicate with their parents, they lose interest in the household. Without it, there needs to be an interpreter for each family. [But with the school] there is better understanding,”Mr Karimi says. Multicultural Development Association
  • 10. Seventeen-year-old Frozan Sadat arrived in Australia three years ago as a refugee from Afghanistan. Frozan, like many other young former refugees, has endured experiences during her childhood and adolescence far beyond those normally encountered by young people. This difficult past has left its scars but it has also equipped Frozan, and other young people like her, with a world view and vision well beyond her years. This makes Frozan a natural leader. Frozan believes that building a strong and inclusive Queensland community requires building bridges between smaller, disconnected communities so that dialogue and mutual understanding are allowed to grow. “By moving away from thinking always in terms of‘me’and‘you’, we will work it out. It’s not the thought of‘me’and‘you’. It’s the thought of‘us’, or ‘we’. If we all think only in terms of‘me’and‘you’, Australia’s gone,”Frozan says. She has the goal of developing school-based programs that encourage stronger connections between young people from different cultural backgrounds in the school-yard context. “We all have strengths and weaknesses. Maybe the strengths I have are different to those from someone else born and raised here, and the strengths and skills that they have, having been raised in this country, are strengths I don’t have,”Frozan says. “If I interact with them somehow and get to know them and recognise their problems, and how their problems exist according to their experiences, and if they understand why we are here – which is their main question,‘why are you here?’– maybe we can give a hand to each other somehow. Not just this divide where they think,‘oh, they’re new arrivals’, or we think,‘oh, they have problems I don’t have’.” Getting the unity back into community in a multicultural Queensland Multicultural Development Association