Disadvantaged young people are being inspired by visions of a brighter future in a program unveiled in the South East.
The ‘Opening Minds, Building Futures’ program provides career information, work experience, counselling and mentoring to high school students from Pasifika and South Sudanese communities.
It is being delivered in Casey, Greater Dandenong, Melton and Brimbank by refugee and migrant settlement agency AMES Australia and Centre for Multicultural Youth.
Program director and AMES community development manager Maria Tsopanis said the aim was to “engage, inform and empower” young people to find careers that “they might not have thought they could embark on”.
“This is all about supporting young people to explore the opportunities and career pathways open to them and allowing then to reach their full potential.
“They, in turn, will become role models and agents of change in areas and in communities suffering socio-economic disadvantage.”
The program combines multicultural youth workers and career counsellors in a “strength-based, co-designed and culturally sensitive approach”, Ms Tsopanis said.
One of the beneficiaries of this approach is 20-year-old Indian migrant Manisha Kulai.
Just two years in Australia, she landed a job as an application analyst with a tech firm after taking part in AMES’s Three Steps program.
“Joining the program gave me confidence, improved my English and gave me connections with people in Australia,” she said.
“I also learned about how to find a job in Australia and about the resume and interview process.
“The support I received has made me more confident in speaking to different people in different situations.
“It was really helpful.”
‘Opening Minds, Building Futures’ is part of the federal National Careers Institute’s Partnership Grants initiative.