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.

Celebrating KMP mentee and mentor successes – part 6

KMP Mentee Tiffany Makharti

Kaleidoscope Initiative asked past mentees and mentors from the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program to share their experiences, benefits and successes from the participating in the program. Participants also provided a selfie photograph of themselves so you can see the many different faces of KMP mentees and mentors.

We asked mentee Tiffany Makharti about her experiences:

What were the benefits/values you gained from participating in the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program?

As a newcomer coming to Australia, this program helped me to build an understanding of Australian workplace culture, recruitment practices and professional networks within my profession and the industry I was interested in. As a bonus, I got a chance to meet and build friendships with people around the world I met through the program.

Were there any skills that you gained from taking part in KMP?

Being matched with a mentor who understands the Australian culture, particularly the Western Australian culture, and the industry I was interested in, provided me not just guidance on how to achieve my employment goals, but also gave me the opportunity to learn how to manage bottom-up as an employee of an Australian organisation.

How do you feel about your profession now, after completing the Program?

I guess, as a human being we will never stop learning. Everyday in my current workplace, I keep finding new things that I am not familiar with. However, after completing this program, I have a base understanding of how things work in the Australian workplace.

Did participating in the program expand your community networks or knowledge in a particular area?

The program is definitely expanding my networks as there were more than 20 people from different cultural and professional background who were in the same program with me. We shared some challenges and success stories along the way. In addition, I also had the opportunity to be involved in volunteering for the City of Stirling and working experience with my Mentor’s company, which has broaden my community networks.

In what ways does Kaleidoscope contribute to the community?

Kaleidoscope provides tools and medium to newcomers coming to Australia to understand how to achieve their employment goals. When the participants secure a job, it makes them part of the broader Australian community, expanding networks within the community and which ultimately gives economic and social benefits back to the community.

To read more about Tiffany, visit her LinkedIn profile.

APPLY NOW to become a mentee or mentor for the next mentoring cycle running from July to October 2020. Applications are open between 1 and 31 of May.

Find out more about the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program and how you too can join as a Mentee or a Mentor.

The City of Stirling’s Kaleidoscope Initiative aims to harness the economic benefits of its diverse population by helping newcomers to Australia secure employment in their field of expertise and support employers to benefit from this diverse workforce.

The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Cultural Industries of Western Australia, the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Office of Multicultural Interests. This project has been developed in partnership with Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).

Celebrating KMP mentee and mentor successes – Part 5
Portrait of Rob Delane

KMP mentor Rob Delane, Inspector-General of Biosecurity, Australian Goverment

Kaleidoscope Initiative asked past mentees and mentors from the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program to share their experiences, benefits and successes from the participating in the program. Participants also provided a selfie photograph of themselves so you can see the many different faces of KMP mentees and mentors.

We asked Rob Delane, Inspector-General of Biosecurity, Australian Goverment, about his mentoring experience and this was his response:

What were the benefits/values you gained from participating in the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program?

It is a joy to have the opportunity to contribute to the success of a newcomer to my beautiful and wealthy nation, so they can contribute to the development of Australia as 5 generations of my family have done. It helps me to further develop my mentoring skills so that I may more effectively and efficiently assist more newcomers.

Were there any skills that you gained from taking part in KMP?

I have learnt about Zoom, the online meeting software, which has functionality that will be very valuable under normal living conditions.

How do you feel about your profession now, after completing the program?

I remain very proud of my public service career and my leadership/management roles.

Did participating in the program expand your community networks or knowledge in a particular area?

It has helped me network with some mentors from other economic sectors. Mostly, I have learnt that many mentees have generic needs not specific to a professional sector. I am confident that I can contribute to success of mentees from a wide range of professions.

In what ways does Kaleidoscope contribute to the community?

Kaleidoscope positively changes the lives of participants, transforming the lives of many newcomer mentees, so they can better and faster contribute to the wellbeing of their families and communities.

To read more about Rob, visit his  LinkedIn profile.

Kaleidoscope is inviting applications for mentees and mentors in May 2020 for the next mentoring cycle running from July to October 2020. Find out more about the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program and how you too can join as a Mentee or a Mentor.

The City of Stirling’s Kaleidoscope Initiative aims to harness the economic benefits of its diverse population by helping newcomers to Australia secure employment in their field of expertise and support employers to benefit from this diverse workforce. The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been funded by the Government of Western Australia, the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Office of Multicultural Interests. This project has been developed in partnership with Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).

Celebrating KMP mentee and mentor successes – Part 3

Mentor Paul Kellick from City of Stirling

Kaleidoscope Initiative asked past mentees and mentors from the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program to share their experiences, benefits and successes from the participating in the program. Participants also provided a selfie photograph of themselves so you can see the many different faces of KMP mentees and mentors.

We asked Paul Kellick about his mentoring experience and this was his response:

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

I used to be a surveyor (but I’m OK now!). I spent a few years working overseas in the UK, Libya, Burma, Pakistan, Nigeria and Oman and travelling lots. When I came back, I eventually ended up working in local government in the project management/asset management/facility management space. I’m currently with the City of Stirling working on some great major projects.

Why did you sign up to be a mentor?

I had a great mentor quite a few years ago that assisted me in my career development and I’ve been a mentor in quite a few programs since. I’m particularly passionate about cultural diversity which is what made the KMP program so attractive. Diversity is good for business as it introduces multiple perspectives.

What was the best part of being a mentor?

The best part was the networking and supporting events. I love meeting new people!

What is the greatest value you gained from participating in the program?

Connecting with the diverse side of this great country of ours! Almost 50% of our population were born overseas or had a parent who was and that includes the other 3 members of my own family! I’m an eighth generation Australian and a First Fleeter but my wife is from Chile originally.

Was it challenging to be a mentor?

Not really, only the time component.

Do you feel your cultural competency improved through participation in this program?

Yes, I thought I was pretty good prior to being involved as I’ve visited 70 countries in my travels but I learnt so much, particularly in the networking events.

Would you feel more likely to employ a skilled migrant or skilled refugeesince undertaking the KMP?

Yes!

Do you think other professionals should start mentoring? Why?

Yes. It develops you as a leader and improves your cultural competency.

What are your Top 5 Tips that you would give to a new KMP mentor?

Do it!

Make the time

Let the mentor take the lead

Be a ‘learner’ not a ‘knower’

Listen

Kaleidoscope is inviting applications for mentees and mentors in May 2020 for the next mentoring cycle running from July to October 2020. Find out more about the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program and how you too can join as a Mentee or a Mentor.

The City of Stirling’s Kaleidoscope Initiative aims to harness the economic benefits of its diverse population by helping newcomers to Australia secure employment in their field of expertise and support employers to benefit from this diverse workforce. The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been funded by the Government of Western Australia, the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Office of Multicultural Interests. This project has been developed in partnership with Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).

Celebrating Kaleidoscope Initiative successes – Part 1

KMP mentor Peiye Truong from CBA

Kaleidoscope Initiative asked past mentees and mentors from the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program to share their experiences, benefits and successes from the participating in the program. Participants also provided a selfie photograph of themselves so you can see the many different faces of KMP mentees and mentors.

We asked Peiye Truong, about his mentoring experience and this was his response:

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

I have over 11 years’ experience in the financial services and banking industry in varying roles across retail banking, business and corporate banking and most recently small business. Over the last 8 years, I have held numerous leadership positions, culminating to my current role as the Regional Manager of Small Business Banking, looking after a team of specialists and leaders across WA South, and the whole of South Australia and Northern Territory.

Why did you sign up to be a mentor?

As a child of migrant parents, I have heard numerous stories and recollections of how difficult things were when they first came to Australia. Coming from a successful business in their home country of Vietnam, my parents had to start things all over again. At times, I think how a program like KMP could have supported my parents and extended family.

Additionally, 70% of our team across WA, SA & NT are born overseas, with 10 different cultures making up our extended team.

As industry professionals, it is one way for us to play a crucial role in our local communities.

What was the best part of being a mentor?

The intrinsic motivation and joy a mentee receives from this program is something you can’t put a price on. The resulting joy as a mentor is extremely motivating as an individual.

There is an abundance of ex-mentees out in the industries who are well on their way to a successful career in Australia, thanks to KMP. Being able to say you played a small part in that is very fulfilling!

What is the greatest value you gained from participating in the program?

The networks and new connections you make. This coupled with the chance to learn different cultures and how industries work in different countries helps broaden coaching and leadership skills in so many ways.

Was it challenging to be a mentor?

The only big challenge I found was time. As I travel for work a bit, it was being upfront with my mentee and ensuring that I booked my mentoring meetings in advance. If there was a clash, we would connect on the phone.

Do you feel your cultural competency improved through participation in this program?

Absolutely! I have a much greater appreciation for how industries operate in different cultures, and have also reflected on the industry norms we have in Australia.

Would you feel more likely to employ a skilled migrant or skilled refugee in a position since undertaking the KMP?

If I had a role available, without question!

Do you think other professionals should start mentoring? Why?

I think all professionals should start mentoring high-skilled migrants in one form or another. Picture this – you have decided the time is right to leave everything you know and the country you call home for better opportunities. You decide to uproot your family as well and move to a country that you may never have been to before, however, you know that in the long run it will be better for your family and children. You have some ideas about the culture and cultural norms. You know you are qualified to do the same job (probably over-qualified). However, you have no idea who to approach or how to approach someone in the industry. You are happy to take a few steps back in your career in order to get into the industry and work your way up from there. Yet it seems like no one wants to give you a chance or when you get a chance, not knowing how the industry operates limits your chances.

This is the challenge facing a lot of the mentees in KMP and as leaders, we play a very crucial role in supporting them through this.

What are your Top 5 Tips that you would give to a new KMP mentor?

Firstly, thank you for giving your time to the program, these mentees will definitely take a lot from your experiences.

Ensure you are able to dedicate the time to your mentee.

Ensure your mentoring agreement is specific and clear to both parties

Don’t get caught up with landing the mentee a job straight away, there are so many other things you can add value to, until the opportunity comes around. E.g. resume, cover letter, interview techniques, industry norms and culture.

Be honest and transparent – that goes both ways.

Seek feedback as you go along and give yourself the time to reflect. It’s as much a journey for the mentor as it is for the mentee.

Kaleidoscope is inviting applications for mentees and mentors in May 2020 for the next mentoring cycle running from July to October 2020. Find out more about the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program and how you too can join as a Mentee or a Mentor.

The City of Stirling’s Kaleidoscope Initiative aims to harness the economic benefits of its diverse population by helping newcomers to Australia secure employment in their field of expertise and support employers to benefit from this diverse workforce. The Kaleidoscope Initiative has been funded by the Government of Western Australia, the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Office of Multicultural Interests. This project has been developed in partnership with Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).

Anne’s Passion for Mentoring

Article by Tiffani Makharti, Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program Mentee

Anne Mathew sharing her mentoring story

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