Improving employment potential for skilled migrants

Through the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, experienced migrants are given the opportunity to secure work in their field of expertise, including employment at BHP.

The program helps migrants improve their employment potential, obtain work and builds the capacity of employers to reap the rewards of a diverse workforce.

BHP Superintendent Balraj Hansra joined BHP almost a decade ago as Graduate Geoscientist and signed up to be a mentor in the program, motivated by his appreciation of the difficulty for newcomers to find work in Australia.

“My mother came to Australia as a migrant and despite having a Master’s degree and being trained as a Registered Nurse in the UK, she found it difficult to find work here because she had no Australian experience,” Balraj said.

“After reflecting on this, and the impact it had on her and the rest of our family, I wanted to do everything I could to positively change the situation for those who have recently migrated to Australia.”

Balraj mentored Mehdi Najafi through the program, who now works as a Geotechnician at BHP’s Nickel West, Leinster Nickel Operation.

Mehdi was born and raised in Tehran, the capital city of Iran, where he studied a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and graduated with a Master of Geotechnical Engineering. Mehdi has nearly eight years’ experience as a Geotechnical Engineer in Iran on a wide range of civil, infrastructure and mining projects.

Mehdi explains the mentor program opened up the opportunity to have his qualifications recognised and to continue working in his field of expertise.

“Coming to Australia has always been a dream of mine, to create a better life and find more opportunities for work, but as a migrant we do face a lot of difficulties,” Mehdi said.

“You have to work hard to reach your dreams, and it’s not always easy, but the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program provided that path for mentorship, experience and networking, that has helped me secure work at BHP – a leading global resources company.”

“Mentoring Mehdi and seeing his personal growth was a highlight for me,” Balraj said. “The program gave me the space to develop my coaching skills and appreciate the challenges that new migrants face when searching for professional roles in Australia.

“It was also a reminder that we need to see and value global experience just as much as Australian experience and leverage off the high level of diversity we have here in Australia.”

 

The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been supported by the State Government through the Office of Multicultural Interests. The Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program is being implemented under a partnership between the City of Stirling, the City of Canning and Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Western Australian Government. The Program has been created in consultation with the Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Their successful TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program is the model for mentoring programs across Canada and internationally.

Kaleidoscope Mentor – Andrea Williams

We spoke with Andrea Williams (LinkedIn), a mentor for the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, and asked her to share her experiences from participating in the program.

1.  Tell us a little about your own employment/professional history?

I own and operate a medium-sized company called Asset Reports, which I started in 2007 and now have approximately 55 staff Australia-wide. We service the investor market by providing a wide range of Property Reports.

2.  Why did you sign up to be a mentor?

The main reason I signed up to be a mentor is that when I migrated to Australia at the age of eight years old, I had to watch my parents restart their careers with little assistance along the way. I wanted to use my personal experience, knowledge and contacts to help make someone’s journey a little more seamless by offering support through a challenging transition.

3.  What was the best part of being a mentor?

Being a mentor was a rewarding feeling; I enjoyed meeting Alice and learning about her background. The most rewarding part of the whole mentorship was being able to help Alice gain confidence in her own ability and take positive action.

4.  Tell us about the skills you have gained so far from participating in the program.

The main skill I gained was the ability to adapt very quickly to Alice’s personality and way of learning.

5.  Can you tell us about any challenges you faced as a mentor?

The biggest challenge I faced as a mentor was learning to take a step back and let Alice lead the way. I was often tempted to write her cover letters and do the whole application for her, but I knew that it wouldn’t be beneficial in the long run. We spent a lot of time editing cover letters together and it resulted in her recognising the importance of the changes suggested and how she can learn from them for the next time.

6.  In your opinion, did you improve your cultural competency through participation in the program? In what ways?

Yes, absolutely. The biggest thing that surprised me was how the mentees viewed the job advertisements online. In Australia we are quick to respond to job advertisements by applying online, emailing or calling the company. However I found that the mentees read every single word of the advertisements and will not apply if they believe they have not met just one part of the selection criteria. I encouraged Alice to apply regardless as employers are not always going to get exactly what they are looking for. I also learnt about the way the workforce functions in Vietnam and how it differs to Australia.

7.  Would you be more inclined to employ a skilled newcomer in your organisation, since undertaking the KMP?

I was always very happy to employ newcomers to Australia and especially now after meeting so many. Newcomers come from all economic and socio-political backgrounds and bring unique viewpoints and different ways of doing things. Most importantly, if we embrace cultural diversity in our own companies, we are giving people a chance at a new career and possibly one that they may not have had before moving to Australia.

8.  How does participating in the program expand your community networks or knowledge in a particular area?

The program expanded my knowledge in the complexity of Project Management. As I have run a business for most of my adult life, I have always been dealing with my own team. It extended my community network as I was able to reach out to people that were not in my industry to ask for assistance and advice for Alice.

9.  Do you think other professionals should start mentoring? Why?

I think that everybody with a professional background should be a mentor. It improves our knowledge of the world and the journey behind someone migrating to Australia. Naturally, you also develop your own leadership skills, improve communication and personal skills, and remind yourself of everything you could teach somebody. It is also a wonderful experience for the mentee to even just have somebody to call and lean on.

10.  Do you have any tips that you would give to a new KMP mentor?

The tip that I would give to a new KMP mentor would be to advise the mentee to be less critical of themselves when reading job advertisements online. Some job ads are overly detailed, and it can really throw the mentee off. I had to explain to Alice that she can still apply for jobs even if she did not meet all the selection criteria. In conclusion, the main bit of advice I have to offer is to be patient with the mentees. They are facing a whole new professional world and need as much encouragement as possible to lock in their next professional role.

Want to become a KMP mentor? We are continuously recruiting mentors, apply now for KMP Cycle 1 2021.

Apply as a mentor

The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been supported by the State Government through the Office of Multicultural Interests. The Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program is being implemented under a partnership between the City of Stirling, the City of Canning and Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Western Australian Government. The Program has been created in consultation with the Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Their successful TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program is the model for mentoring programs across Canada and internationally.

Kaleidoscope Mentor – Dr Carla Boehl

Kaleidoscope Mentor - Carla Boehl

We spoke with Dr Carla Boehl (LinkedIn), a mentor for the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, and asked her to share her experiences from participating in the program.

1.  Tell us a little about your own employment/professional history.

I am a Civil Engineer from the University of Porto in Portugal. I also completed a Master of Science and a PhD in Water Resources Engineering and Management at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. I moved to Australia in 2006 to work as a Water Engineer. I then specialised in Asset Management, and worked in more industries such as rail and mining. Currently, I am the Chair of the Asset Management Council in WA.

2.  Why did you sign up to be a mentor?

I read a LinkedIn post from Engineers Australia, of which I am a Fellow member, and found it an interesting initiative. I have been both a mentor and a mentee in other programs and always enjoyed participating.

In a way, the timing was good because I had just been stood down (and later made redundant) from my role as Innovation Manager at Monadelphous. So, I had free time on my hands. Given that I also live in the City of Stirling I thought, why not?

3.  What was the best part of being a mentor?

Being an engineer, I am fascinated by problem solving. Helping someone find a job was a problem to solve with the benefit of making another person happy. It was very satisfying to help another water engineer.

Because I was made redundant, I also had a recent job-hunting experience and fresh ideas of how to go about it, because the job market and the employment processes constantly change. Now companies ask candidates to submit videos and ask them to record verbal/spoken answers using online software.

4.  Tell us about the skills you have gained so far from participating in the program.

Improved communication and personal skills, developed leadership qualities, increased confidence and motivation.

5.  Can you tell us about any challenges you faced as a mentor?

Besides finding the time to dedicate to the program and to my mentee, meeting via Zoom and later in person, the biggest challenge was to find exactly how I could help. My mentee had very relevant experience, a very good CV and cover letter, a great LinkedIn profile, excellent English and professional presence. I needed to understand what was missing that made him unsuccessful in his job hunt during the last two years! Employers in WA value, in my opinion too much, the so-called “local experience” and that was used frequently as an excuse. In my opinion, what he was missing was access to the local network. I moved to Perth in 2010 and through the years I have invested in networking, so I was able to introduce my mentee to a number of my contacts.

6.  In your opinion, did you improve your cultural competency through participation in the program? In what ways?

Yes, I learnt a lot about Kurdistan, its culture and context. The training that was provided was of high quality.

7.  Would you be more inclined to employ a skilled newcomer in your organisation, since undertaking the KMP?

I have always been open to newcomers. The program reinforced my beliefs in diversity and inclusion.

8.  In what ways did participating in the program expand your community networks or knowledge in a particular area?

It was an opportunity to have conversations within my network and I was positively impressed with the willingness to help from my contacts.

9.  Do you think other professionals should start mentoring? Why?

Yes, so they can understand the difficulties that other highly qualified and experienced professionals have to deal with to get their first job in WA. It is rewarding to contribute to someone’s career and life and how much it impacts their families.

10.  Do you have any tips that you would give to a new KMP mentor?

Introduce your mentee to your network.

Last chance to apply!

Interested in becoming a KMP mentee? Applications close soon for particular occupations. Spaces are limited, apply today to avoid missing out!

Apply as a mentee

Want to become a KMP mentor? We are continuously recruiting mentors, apply now for KMP Cycle 1 2021.

Apply as a mentor

The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been supported by the State Government through the Office of Multicultural Interests. The Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program is being implemented under a partnership between the City of Stirling, the City of Canning and Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Western Australian Government. The Program has been created in consultation with the Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Their successful TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program is the model for mentoring programs across Canada and internationally.

Mentees we need you!

Mentees, we need you!

Are you a professional skilled newcomer to Australia who has been here for five years or less? Are you struggling to get work in your field or area of experience? We want you!

Here at Kaleidoscope, we are looking for professional skilled newcomers to match to our expert mentors, across a number occupational fields. If you are a qualified professional in any of the areas listed below, you could be eligible to join the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, starting in 2021. The next mentoring cycle runs from January to May 2021.

Architects | Assess strategy engineer | Auditor/quality assessor | Business – Finance analyst | Civil Engineer- Water/Flood models/Hydrology | Community services | Doctor/Medical practitioner | Epidemiology/Research/Public Health | HR | HSE engineer | Lawyer | Maritime engineer | Marketing | Procurement – government | Project management/health care | Project planner/public transport | Property manager | Research – hospitality | Telecom engineer | Tourism management

Applications have been extended until 17 November for newcomers in the above occupations only.

Interested in becoming a KMP mentee? Spaces are limited, apply today to avoid missing out!

Mentees apply now

The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been supported by the State Government through the Office of Multicultural Interests. The Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program is being implemented under a partnership between the City of Stirling, the City of Canning and Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Western Australian Government. The Program has been created in consultation with the Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Their successful TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program is the model for mentoring programs across Canada and internationally.

Celebrating Kaleidoscope’s Mentors

Celebrating Kaleidoscope’s Mentors

The unsung heroes of the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program are our mentors. Over the past two and a half years, the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program has assisted 154 mentees to increase their job readiness skills, networking abilities and grow in confidence.

None of this would be possible without the support and assistance provided by the many mentors who volunteer their time to assist skilled newcomers in Australia.

Our mentors are all experts in their field, employed in a vast range of positions and companies throughout Perth, Western Australia. Mentors are matched to skilled professional newcomers who are experienced in the same or similar field. Over a period of 12 weeks, mentors provide mentees with insights and guidance into their relevant industry, assist with networking and industry connections, offer resume and interview advice and much more.

We’d like to thank all of our mentors who have dedicated themselves to providing nothing but the highest quality support, guidance and feedback to our mentees.

We have compiled a small snapshot of Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program’s mentors. Over the coming months, we’ll be featuring more of our mentors so stay tuned in November and December to see who’s next in the spotlight.

Mentor Snapshot 2020

Andrea Williams (LinkedIn) | Founding Director of Asset Reports

Owner and Director of Asset Reports since 2007. Overall, Andrea looks after approx. 50 staff in four different states and primarily focusses on the management of the business as well as sales and marketing. They have four departments which are the Quantity Surveying (Tax Depreciation Schedules), Outsourcing to Real Estates, Matterport 3D Virtual Tours and Strata 10 Year Plans. She is also the a co-owner of our tech company Reports Online which produces Paperless Condition Reports. “I joined the Kaleidoscope program to support a newcomer to Australia, helping to make their transition a little more seamless. I enjoyed all the time I had with Alice and look forward to doing it again.”

Andrea Williams

Manuel Grosshans (LinkedIn) | Civil Engineer – Founder, Principal Engineer, General dogsbody for PMMC Consulting

Engineering and Construction expert predominantly in marine works for more than 15 years, on projects in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Africa. Manuel also has experience in the roles of Bid Manager, Subject Matter Expert Marine and Heavy Lifting, Project Manager, Engineering Manager, Construction Manager and Senior Project Engineer. “What I enjoyed about the program was rewarding relationship with my mentee. It is rewarding to be able to see mentees develop and succeed.”

Simon Gazia (LinkedIn) | Owner/CEO of LTT Group

LTT is an Award winning Registered Training Organisation that has been operating for 15 Years. LTT specialises in laboratory operations and pathology collection (phlebotomy) training for workplaces throughout Australia and individual students in our Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney training centres. Simon has close ties to many employers in Laboratory Operations across multiple industry sectors and the Pathology industry. Simon can assist mentees with Geotechnical, Chemistry, Laboratory and Scientific backgrounds. “The opportunity to give back by helping a skilled migrant to reconnect with their career was very rewarding.”

Peter McCafferty (LinkedIn) | CEO of ChemCentre

Peter is CEO of a state government organisation that employs around 150 people. The business is based on providing chemistry-based science to government and private companies. They also carry out collaborative research and development, with government departments, industry and universities.  Peter has been employed at ChemCentre for almost 30 years. He started as a scientist in the environmental laboratory carrying our nutrient and heavy metal analysis, progressed to managing the commercial activities of ChemCentre prior to the CEO role. “One of the benefits of the program was gaining an appreciation of the skills that so many people have. I am now more confident in my ability to coach and mentor others, including skilled migrants.”

Bita Shad (LinkedIn) | Contracts Engineer for INPEX

Bita is a professional Contracts Engineer with more than 15 years’ experience engaged in various projects in the oil and gas and resources industries. Core fields of her experience include pre- and post-award contract management consisting of development of contracting strategy, pre-qualification, contract formulation, developing tender documents, tender evaluation, negotiation and contract award and contract administration. Additional experience includes sourcing goods and services, developing procurement plans, negotiating prices and maintain relations with suppliers and vendors. “The program increased my confidence in my ability to mentor a new migrant. I enjoyed getting to know great people like Cema and her team, the other mentors, and getting to know a few professionals from the Iranian community.

Nicola Wilkins (LinkedIn) | Electrical Engineer at Horizon Power

Nicola has dedicated her career to the clean energy sector. She has 15 years’ experience in renewable energy. Her experience encompasses feasibility, electrical design, project management and consulting both in Australia and abroad, including five years in Germany. Nicola has experience working for employers such as large and small solar engineering, procurement and construction organisations, start-ups and government-owned electricity distribution networks. “Through the program, I gained the personal satisfaction of helping someone improve their job seeking skills. I realised that my skills and knowledge are valuable, and I enjoyed imparting my knowledge.”
Image of Mentor, Nicola Wilkins

Applications are now open

Want to become a KMP mentor?

Applications have been extended to 17 November 2020.

We are continuously recruiting mentors. The next mentoring cycle is running from January to May 2021.

Mentors apply now for KMP Cycle 1 2021.

The Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program is being implemented under a partnership between the City of Stirling, the City of Canning and Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Western Australian Government. The Program has been created in consultation with the Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Their successful TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program is the model for mentoring programs across Canada and internationally.

FREE online Job Readiness Workshops – December 2020

Image Job Readiness

Have you been out of the employment game for a while?

City of Stirling has partnered with the City of Canning to deliver online Job Readiness Workshops for community members who are seeking employment.

Tune into the free online Job Readiness workshop series from the comfort of your own home. These workshops will enhance your knowledge and job application skills to boost your employability. Learn more about what employers are looking for in resumes and cover letters, improve your interview skills, understand how to use LinkedIn for job hunting and more.

What participants said about the workshops:
“It was very informative and helpful.”
“I got a job with my very first application using my new revamped resume and cover letter!”
“Interviewers thought I had paid someone to write my resume.”
“I am now equipped with new techniques on how to approach the job market and apply for different jobs.”
“The market is changing dramatically during the current crisis, and this workshop addressed these changes in the right way.”
“Through understanding the hiring managers’ expectations, I believe that this will ease the job-hunting journey.”

Interested in attending the next online Job Readiness workshop series?

DATES
Week 1: Monday 30 November – Thursday 3 December 2020
Week 2: Monday 7 December – Wednesday 9 December 2020

REGISTER TODAY TO SECURE YOUR SPOT!

Spaces are limited, so get in quick to avoid missing out.

The City of Stirling Online Job Readiness Workshops are delivered in partnership with the the City of Canning and the Kaleidoscope Initiative. The workshops are an initiative to assist community members who are seeking employment or have had their employment impacted by COVID-19.

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