Participants praise Gateway Health Wodonga Work Ready program

THE importance of contacts, voluntary positions and a reliable car are among the lessons gained from a Border job skills course for refugees and migrants.

WILLING AND ABLE: Makwaya Masudi Deo, Durga Guragai and Sunil Shrimali take part in the Gateway Health program. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

WILLING AND ABLE: Makwaya Masudi Deo, Durga Guragai and Sunil Shrimali take part in the Gateway Health program. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG

After four weeks, people in the Work Ready Program run by Gateway Health Wodonga feel they know more about the Australian job market.

Gateway Health financial counsellor Karin Stahl said the group of 24 came from a range of countries and backgrounds.

“We had a broad mix of skill sets from basically no skills to degrees,” she said.

“Some have worked before, some haven’t.”

Participants from Bhutan, India and the Democratic Republic of the Congo praised the course, saying it had helped them meet community members and business people.

Deepshree Dhar said she had been surprised to learn many Australian jobs aren’t advertised but develop from volunteer roles and referrals.

“Now I think I can work in voluntary to get a job rather than just sitting at home and applying through Seek,” she said.

Makwaya Masudi Deo, Congolese by nationality but a refugee in Kenya for six years, said his experience had shown him Australian workers struggled without easy vehicle access.

“In Africa you can have a job without a car,” he said, adding Work Ready was a useful opportunity.

“The good thing is when you receive information you can prepare now your minds,” he said.

“At least now we know what we can do.”

Amandeep Samrao said the course allowed people to channel their skills and extend their career possibilities.

“The biggest limitation for many of us is the cost involved in different courses, so this kind of workshop is a good initiative providing information from people who have their acumen in different fields,” she said.

And for some it’s the chance to develop skills it simply was not possible to learn earlier.

Kamushonda Wa Toga spent 15 years at a refugee camp in Zambia. 

“In a refugee camp we don’t have access maybe to computer,” he said.