Building career confidence and a diverse workforce

Asmaa Omer, Employment Empowers participant
Asmaa, Employment Empowers participant

We recently visited Asmaa, an Employment Empowers program participant at her workplace, IKEA, to chat about how life is going now, a year since she joined the program.

Asmaa is an Eritrean Australian, who was struggling to find permanent employment after completing her studies in Event Management and Marketing.

Since joining Employment Empowers, a CMY program that pairs young people looking for work with volunteer mentors, and partners with employers who are passionate about developing an inclusive and diverse workforce, Asmaa gained the confidence to apply for a placement at IKEA and landed a permanent role shortly after.

“I wasn’t even going to apply to IKEA because I thought I would be going up against a lot of people. I didn’t think I was going to get the placement, but I just went for the interview because I had nothing to lose,” Asmaa says.

“The program was good, it helped a lot. My mentor has been really helpful; we created a bunch of resumes and even keep up with general contact, even if it’s not work-related. She’s helped me a lot with organisation and communication, which has increased my confidence.”

Since working at IKEA, Asmaa has learned practical skills; multitasking, customer service skills, and how to communicate confidently with different customers.

Asmaa with IKEA colleagues, Emma and Yota
Asmaa with IKEA colleagues, Emma and Yota

IKEA People and Culture Manager, Emma Fitzpatrick, talked about the benefits of employing a young person like Asmaa.

“We welcome all dimensions of diversity and we think that a diverse workplace is good for our customers, for our co-workers. At IKEA we see everyone as a potential talent so that’s something we’re very proud of.”

“Our experience with Asmaa has been very positive. Asmaa has settled right into the IKEA culture and embraced her role. She shares our values and is committed to making that her reality and that is reflected in her work.”

When asked about what the future holds, Asmaa says she has no plans to leave IKEA, “I love my team, they’re really supportive…I would like to possibly explore marketing and events, maybe doing an internship. I want to do a degree in Business and Administration, and so far that’s my plan.”

Asmaa also works at the Moonee Valley City Council where she is currently planning an employment event in the hopes of introducing young people from multicultural backgrounds into careers in the creative and arts industries.

Having benefitted immensely from the program, Asmaa encourages other young people looking for employment to apply, “even if you think you know what you’re doing, it opened up so many opportunities for me that I didn’t even know existed.”

If you’re an employer looking to employ a motivated young person like Asmaa, sign up to become a program partner here: