Breaking down barriers to employment

“Two years ago it was really hard for me; to fit in, to learn how things worked here and the culture. I knew nothing about anything, it was so complicated,” Ngot M. Athuai, an Employment Empowers participant says.

Ngot’s education was disrupted by war in South Sudan, but he persevered and explored his passion for music to support his family and keep himself busy. He brought his determination to Australia when he arrived in 2016, but struggled to find stability due to visa restrictions and other barriers to employment.

“I was always out there looking for something good to do for myself and my family but it was really hard because I never had any real job experience.”

Ngot applied to CMY’s Employment Empowers program hoping to get lucky after his 18-month job search and says he was desperately running out of hope by that point.

“This experience has been a life-changing moment for me; it’s been a real turning point. From zero to where I am right now, it just so amazing and unbelievable.”

“When I joined the program I got all the things I needed. It taught me everything; how to write resumes, how to conduct myself in an interview and how to be confident,” Ngot says.

His volunteer mentor, Katherine, is a Human Resources Manager who says she was inspired by Ngot’s commitment to getting a job. “I’ve had a really positive experience working with him and getting to know him better, we connected right away and he’s a wonderful young man, he’s super positive and warm and friendly.”

Ngot is a strong believer that things happen for a reason and is appreciative that he was matched with his mentor. “The way I ended up here and how well Katherine and I connected, and when you put everything together, I just look back and think it’s so amazing. She’s been so supportive and so understanding and she made sure I have what I need to go where I want to go.”

In Ngot’s current role, he particularly enjoys getting familiar with the Adobe Creative Suite, as it reminds him of writing music and being creative. He tries to always make time to write music as it helps him connect with his feelings and other people. “When you listen to music you just forget about your worries,” he says.

Hungry to learn as much as he can in his current role, Ngot hopes that he can eventually work his way into a position where he is managing a team and making crucial decisions.

“What I’ve always been taught by my parents, is to be grateful of those who helped you when you were down. This program has been like a family to me and given me support when I was down and really needed help. It put me where I wanted to be.”

To those looking to volunteer as a mentor, Katherine says, “there are a lot of practical skills and broader things to share. Part of it is just listening and encouraging and being inspired by them.”

“I’ve had an awesome experience with the team at CMY. They’ve been really helpful, there was a great training at the start and there were a lot of resources available.”

If you are a young person aged 18-24 years old from a refugee or migrant background who needs help to find employment, a working professional with skills to share, or an employer looking for staff, join the program.