Young sportswoman encourages others to seize opportunities to overcome barriers to employment

July 18, 2019

Finding employment was a struggle for Ada Onyeka, who was studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design at Australian Catholic University.

Ada talks about a common barrier many young people, like her, face when seeking meaningful employment, “[employers] want people with experience, but obviously you need a job to have the experience. That was the main issue, [realising] I don’t have experience.”

She came across Employment Empowers on Facebook; a CMY program that supports young people by connecting them with direct employment, internships, and work placement opportunities.

Through CMY, Ada applied for an internship position at Netball Victoria, having previously played netball for a few years in England.

For Ada, besides working on multicultural participation projects at Netball Victoria, learning how to work and interact with different people and teach them about netball in a way that they understand was something she enjoyed learning about.

“I’ve learnt to use language differently and to be sensitive to other people who you don’t normally encounter in day-to-day life. That’s something I’ll always remember and I think is the most valuable thing that I’ve learnt from here.”

Through the internship, Ada has also learnt some essential transferrable skills; office etiquette and how to sit in front of a computer for eight hours – skills one can only learn on the job.

Grateful that she was able to get this internship experience, Ada encourages other young people who are looking for their first big break to apply to this program, “they should definitely do it, you’ll get to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do without [the program’s] support; there are opportunities that you should just take advantage of.”

From an employer’s perspective, Tanya Gamble, Community & Junior Development Manager at Netball Victoria says having Ada part of the team has been beneficial to the office as well.

“It’s a two-way thing: Ada’s getting a lot of experience and skills off us but then we’re also learning off her.”

“Here at Netball Victoria we love to be able to give young people like Ada opportunities to gain experience.I think it’s been good for other workers as well, to actually feel like they’ve gotten something out of it, in terms of giving someone that opportunity.”

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 visit: https://www.cmy.net.au/employment-empowers 

Employment Empowers is possible through the proud support of Sidney Myer Fund/Myer Foundation, Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions, Victoria State Government, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Penny Appeal, AFL Sports Ready, Department of Social Services and the Australian Government.