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A Community Development Support Expenditure Scheme (CDSE)
Project funded by Parramatta City Council and Clubs NSW
Community Development Project Officer: Samia Ahmed


Project Background

The Immigrant and Refugee Women: Getting Job Ready, a CDSE Program is extremely valuable and vital to our clients especially at this time that the Skilled Migrant Placement Program of the Department of Education and Training has been defunded. This will be running for one year from December 2003 – December 2004.

This project provides services and information to immigrant and refugee women and to other service providers who are not eligible to services provided by the former Skilled Migrant Placement Program of the Department of Education and Training. A significant number (88%) of immigrant and refugee women of CALD background in the Parramatta LGA came to IWSA for assistance in the search of employment. IWSA cannot provide full assistance to 73% of the clients because the Department of Education and Training’s Skilled Migrant Placement Service Agreement limits support to immigrant and refugee women who are job-ready. The funding resources for those who are not in this category are too little and IWSA cannot provide full support for them. The unmet needs are:
1. support to gain self-confidence in their job search;
2. resources for child care;
3. support activities to have them job ready.

The project provides:
· Information and training to immigrant and refugee women of non-English speaking background (NESB) who are in job search;
· Community development activities that aim to address issues immigration and refugee women looking for employment;
· Information and relevant resources to service providers and best practice in information in working with CALD women who are in need of assistance in their job search;
· Promotion of the project both to mainstream and ethno-specific services, ensure ethno-specific networking especially with women’s organisations, groups community centres and service providers.

Information Sessions through telephone advice

The program offered a wealth of information, support, training and intensive assistance to an extremely disadvantaged group of CALD women residing in the Parramatta LGA. The Project Officer has provided advice on culture in the workplace, information on employers and what they expect from applicants and sources of information for jobs and training.

Advice Sessions on Employment and Career (face-to-face)

Many of those who seek assistance have not worked since their arrival in Australia for the following reasons: domestic violence, they cannot afford childcare while they are in training to upgrade their skills and the general impact of the two-year waiting period on their families. I provided counselling to help them realise that they have potentials to get employment.

Some of the sessions also ran as a process of unpacking the emotional baggage they experienced in domestic violence. This approach proved helpful in regaining their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Training in Employment Preparation and Interview Techniques

The CDPO has been providing advice to clients on building resumes, job applications, and interview skills on regular basis at Immigrant Women Speakout Association every Thursday. A workshop on Self Esteem and Confidence Building was organised on the 2nd of April 2004 at Lidcombe Community Hall. It was about “Interview Techniques”. There were 45 women who attended the workshop from Auburn and Parramatta LGA. It was very successful and there was request from the participants to have more of these workshops on regular basis. There is going to be another workshop on Interview Skills at end of September 2004 as requested by the service recipients.

The service runs only one day per week and this is not enough to respond to the needs of the current number of service recipients seeking help. We are hoping to have more funding for this service because this has almost taken the role of the Skilled Migrant Placement Program that has been defunded.