Finding a job makes all the difference in the world for people seeking asylum.
With recent government changes to financial support, many people seeking asylum and living in the community are at a real risk of destitution. In this environment, finding a job can make the difference between self-sufficiency and homelessness.
The Asylum Seekers Centre (ASC) assists people in mapping their path to employment. LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics have provided the very first professional experience in Australia to more than 110 people seeking asylum and have played a crucial role in their careers. These first steps into the Australian workforce often provide people seeking asylum with a springboard to go on and become independent and valued members of our community.
Life has just become much harder for people seeking asylum in our community
People seeking asylum are one of the most resilient and equally one of the most vulnerable groups in our community. People have arrived to Australia by plane or boat and are often living in the community with limited social support. People are at great risk of destitution and homelessness.
In the last 12 months, the Federal Department of Home Affairs has implemented a series of punitive policies designed to cut financial assistance for people seeking asylum. Many people who have sent money to family overseas or who are studying have already been cut off assistance. Other changes are expected later this year and may leave thousands without any financial safety net.
The ASC has developed a plan of action to respond to this recent crisis
The ASC provides practical and personal support for people seeking asylum and living in the community. The Centre is a place of welcome for people who have fled persecution in their home country. In 2017 we worked with over 2,500 people from more than 80 countries who have applied for protection in Australia and are awaiting the outcome of this uncertain and stressful process.
The Centre delivers a range of holistic services under one roof which include: personal case management support, health care, legal advice, emergency housing, financial relief, social support, and employment assistance. People can access English language classes, computer literacy, childcare, recreation activities, a food bank and a daily shared lunch service.
With government withdrawing its support at an unprecedented pace, people need emergency financial relief and accommodation assistance. The ASC works in very close collaboration with colleagues in the sector and with communities to identify who can best support individuals and families. Our objective is to assist people to find community connections, to foster resilience and independence.
In the current environment, finding a job makes all the difference in the world. It is the only viable and sustainable solution to the crisis that the new government policies have created.
We are significantly expanding our employment services to get as many people into work as quickly as possible, so that they can achieve the dignity and financial independence to support themselves and their families. We have already increased English lessons, job interview training and assistance in preparing job applications.
Partner employers are key to help people map their future career
Our Employment team, including 40 volunteer job advisers, collaborate with more than 90 partner employers to assist people seeking asylum in overcoming barriers to entering the workforce. Finding work can be difficult for anyone, but for people seeking asylum there are added challenges such as limited English language skills, and non-recognition of their overseas qualifications.
“It’s difficult for us, this first interview and first job. You need time to learn English and to write your resume. I attended employment workshops at ASC. They taught me how to do an interview, how to dress, body language, how to answer questions, which questions you can ask or not ask. Once you know what to do, you can go to the interview with confidence.” Rani* (name changed)
LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics has been a long-term supporter of the ASC and is one of our most valued partner employers. Since 2015, LUSH has recruited more than 110 people seeking asylum and for many this is their first opportunity to work in Australia and gain the local experience they need to help them move into future roles.
LUSH, our largest partner employer, has also extended support by donating wonderful products for people accessing our Centre and a $20,000 Charity Pot Grant for our emergency relief services.
The ASC is proud to partner with LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics and work with such a supportive organisation. The Centre’s vision is one where Australia opens its heart to people seeking asylum. Recognising our shared humanity with those seeking safety in Australia, we extend our welcome, respect and support. We are a stronger and more vibrant community as a result. This vision is echoed in the words of Zani Walker, People Support Coordinator at LUSH: ‘LUSH supports the rights of people seeking asylum and we want to do what we can to make this support practical and helpful. At the end of the day, we are also looking for productive team members to become part of the LUSH community, and that is exactly what we have found through the ASC.’
Practical ways you can support the ASC
Make a donation. Please know that your kind donation will help people seeking asylum in their ambition to find employment, enrol in training to gain local qualifications, improve their English language, and access financial assistance, health and other social support.
Asylum Seekers Centre
43 Bedford Street,
Newtown NSW 2042