We asked Kharine Kadow (LinkedIn), a mentee from Cycle 1 2021 of the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, to share her experiences, benefits and successes from participating in the program.
Tell us a little about your home/country
I was born in São Paulo, Brazil and I moved to Perth Australia in 2020.
Tell us a little about your employment/professional experience in your home country
I have a bachelor’s degree in Administration and an MBA in Business Process Analysis. I have more than 8 years’ experience working as a Project Manager in different industries like banks, technology and consultancy. My latest jobs were related to Information Technology working with process improvement and systems implementations. I also have a PMP (Project Manager Professional) Certificate which is recognised worldwide in my field.
What challenges have you faced in your job search journey in WA?
I thought that with my experience, certificates and knowledge, it would be easy to find a job in my field. However, I had applied for many jobs and gotten lots of negative answers or no answers at all!
What skills did you gain from participating in the Mentoring Program and how did this help you in your job search?
The program was definitely the best thing that could happen. I did not know that I was doing my applications totally wrong. For example my C.V. was full of labels that Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) cannot read. I was not aware of the Australian workforce culture such as cover letters and selection criteria that must be rewritten for each opportunity. This was part of the valuable information that I got from the program.
What was the best part of being a mentee?
Being supported by someone in the same field that faced the same challenges that you are now facing is one of the best parts, for sure.
Did participating in the program expand your professional community networks or knowledge in a particular area?
Yes. I met mentees and mentors from the same field as mine and I made some new friends as well.
Have you gained employment in your field? Can you tell us a little bit about your new role/job?
Yes. I started my new job one week ago. I am working as a Project Administrator in an IT consultancy company called Process Automation Group. The role is similar to that one that I worked previously in Brazil.
What advice would you give to a new mentee starting the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program?
Keep your goal and work hard to achieve it. Open your heart and your mind. Be humble enough to learn and enjoy the new pathway.
Interested in joining the next cycle as a mentee?
Applications for KMP 2021 Cycle 2 are currently open and will close shortly. Apply here today for our next program.
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.Congratulations to the first round of KMP graduates for 2021
We’d like to congratulate all 43 mentees and mentors who graduated from the first cycle of the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program for 2021. It was a great relief to be able to proceed with the graduation after Premier Mark McGowan announced he would not extend the three-day snap lockdown. Wearing a mask and adhering to social distancing requirements didn’t deter our guests from coming together to celebrate the graduates.
We’d like to say a special thank you to guest speakers His Worship the Mayor Mark Irwin, City of Stirling; His Worship the Mayor Patrick Hall, City of Canning; Susan Kreemer Pickford, General Manager of WA, Engineers Australia and Janet Barnes, Executive for Regional Australia, Telstra who all addressed the audience about their experience with the program.
Other special guests who attended the graduation included His Worship the Mayor Kevin Bailey, City of Swan; Meredith Hammat MLA, Member for Mirrabooka representing the State Government Minister for Citizenship & Multicultural Interests, CSC MLA, Hon Tony Buti and Amanda Gillet, Manager Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre.
KMP has been running since 2018 helping skilled newcomer professionals improve their employment potential by matching them with mentors from their industry or occupation. We’re proud to announce that of the 192 mentees who have taken part in the program, over 78% gained employment in their field within 6 months!
We’re currently recruiting mentees for our next cycle which commences in July 2021. If you’d like to be involved in this highly successful program please submit your application before 31 May. If you’d like to know more about the program visit our website or register for our online information session being held on Wednesday 19 May.
KMP is jointly delivered by the City of Stirling, City of Canning and Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre, and funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Western Australian Government through the Office of Multicultural Interests. 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 Mentee Success Story – Mashaal Mahmood
We spoke with Mashaal Mahmood (LinkedIn), a mentee from Cycle 2 2020 Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program and asked her to share her experiences, benefits and successes from participating in the program.
1. Tell us a little about your home/country
I am originally from the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad. It is one of the most modern cities in the country and definitely the safest.
2. Tell us a little about your own employment/professional history?
My background is in Journalism. I worked as an intern in one of the major commercial news channels in Pakistan, before moving to Australia in 2011, and on and off after that while completing my Bachelor in Perth from The University of Western Australia in Communications and Media. Most of my experience in Journalism in Pakistan was in the area of Politics and Human Rights, which of course is rather understandable considering the human rights violations in the country on a daily basis and political unrest. I used to interview people directly affected by the situations and present their stories in my first language, Urdu.
3. What challenges have you faced in your job search journey in WA?
I have a rather long list for that! Starting with the fact that I had to give up my career in Journalism in Australia due to multiple barriers. Even though I did have quite a distinguished overseas background in Journalism, along with a qualification in that area from a prestigious university from Western Australia, it was almost impossible to work as a journalist in the country. It was mainly due to lack of ‘Australian experience’ in the work field and the lack of understanding of how the job market works here. I kept on applying for jobs online to no benefit. Most of the time, it felt like no one was even looking at my application. My ultimate frustration caused me to give up on my dream of being a journalist and I requalified as a Media teacher, and started teaching in Australian high schools.
4. What skills did you gain from participating in the program and how did this help you in your job search?
For me personally, Kaleidoscope’s online workshops act like a bridge between getting the qualification and finally joining the workforce. I wish I had this ‘bridge’ when I graduated as a Journalist, as I wouldn’t have struggled during my job-hunt process and ultimately changed careers due to lack of positive outcome. The online workshops specifically gave me an in-depth knowledge about the job-search process in Australia. Even after being in the country for almost ten years, I was lacking this vital information. I learnt some really basic things like making my job search efficient by learning how to use online professional mediums like LinkedIn and what words to use in my resume to make it stand out more in front of the recruiters who have uncountable resumes to look at. These strategies might sound basic and simple but play a vital role in making one stand out in the crowd of job applicants. In fact, I think the workshops should be a mandatory process for anyone who has finished their qualification and is looking to find employment in the area of their expertise or for those who have just arrived in the country and want to start their professional journey in Australia. Most of the time, people aren’t struggling to find a job because of lack of qualifications or experience, but due to lack understanding of the path that leads to one’s dream job!
5. What are the three key benefits you gained by joining the program?
1. Cultural understanding of people from different backgrounds
2. Confidence of taking risks
3. Sense of belonging
6. What was the best part of being a mentee?
I was matched up with Sue Myc, the chairperson and radio announcer at 89.7FM Radio. This match turned into one of the finest things that happened in my life since moving to Australia in 2011. I moved here to become a journalist but was forced to give up that dream due to lack of ‘Australian experience’ in that area. My mentor, Sue allowed me to run a 15 minute segment of her morning show once a week, where I would share information regarding a topic of my choice. This didn’t only allow me to learn how to conduct my communication on live radio, but also helped me polish my research skills; a very vital skill for any journalist, as I had to ensure that my information was correct and was presented without any bias. I also learnt how to use the radio equipment, which was definitely the hardest part but definitely the most useful one.
7. In your opinion, did your understanding of Australian workplace culture and job application processes improve through participation in the program?
Some of the workshops were specifically dedicated to the Australian workplace culture and job application processes. A lot of unspoken facts were explained in these ones, such as not calling ‘sir’ or ‘madam’ to people at work and using their first names. I am sure that it is something that requires a lot of getting used to for people from many countries. In terms of job application process, we even did practise interview questions, and got little tips on how to conduct ourselves around our employers. As I said, a lot of unspoken rules that exist but a lot of migrants are unaware of.
8. Did participating in the program expand your professional community networks or knowledge in a particular area?
Working at 89.7FM Radio, as a part of the Kaleidoscope programme, was to help me get into the field of Journalism, but I have got so much more than that since I have been a part of it. Firstly, the opportunity to make friendly connections with people who had spent the majority of their lives here in Australia allowed me to understand the core of Australian culture. One of tendencies amongst migrants is to only mingle with people from their own backgrounds; regardless of how long they have been in their adopted home, mainly because it is their comfort zone. However, this pattern restricts them from sometimes assimilating in the new country. For me, 89.7FM Radio turned out to be a platform where I made deep connections with people who truly understood Australia and Australian values, and to my amusement, for the first time in a decade since I left my home country, I feel like having a sense of belonging, through the people who come from completely different background from my own.
9. Have you gained employment in your field? Can you tell us a little bit about your new role/job?
All thanks to the Kaleidoscope Program, I have my own radio show now on 89.7FM Radio. It is called The Brown Culture, and aims to share the culture/values/history of the Indian subcontinent or South Asia or countries like (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka) with people from different backgrounds in Australia, along with playing Bollywood and Lollywood music. Those of you who don’t know, Bollywood is India’s film and music industry while Lollywood is Pakistan’s film and music industry. The staff at 89.7FM radio was very generous to let me create something that I am truly passionate about. People from the Indian subcontinent represent a high number of Australian population, but not a lot of people truly understand their culture. The whole point of the show is to educate people about South Asian/Brown culture. Being a migrant, I understand that when people truly understand a culture on a human level is when the barrier between ‘them’ and ‘us’ is diminished. I aim to let people feel that we are all one, regardless of our race, religion, ethnicity , and no one really is ‘others’.
10. What advice would you give to a new mentee starting the mentoring program?
Show up for your online classes prepared and make the most of every single opportunity of learning something new. Being a part of this programme is a privilege. Had I received it 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be just starting to practise journalism in Australia.
11. What would you rate the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program out of 5 (5 being the highest)?
Applications for KMP 2021 Cycle 2 will open on 1 May 2021. To register your interest in becoming a mentee in our next cycle please complete an expression of interest form via the link below.
EOI for KMP Mentee
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.KMP Cycle 1 2021 mentees and mentors
Due to the WA State Government’s mandatory lockdown in response to the COVID-19 incident, we have decided to convert the upcoming orientation session on Thursday 4 February 2021 to an online zoom event.
Mentees and mentors, please check your email inbox for more information.
If you have already registered for the event through you are automatically registered for the zoom event (but you will need to login to Eventbrite to access the event).
If you have not registered yet please register here by 5.00pm Wednesday.
This will be the first opportunity for mentors and mentees to meet and have their first mentoring session online and is critical to the success of the program.
If you are unable to attend please email your Mentoring Coach, Cema Santos ASAP.
We look forward to seeing you online on Thursday. Only two days to go!
For more information on all of the mentoring activities please view the KMP 2021 C1 calendar or visit the KMP Cycle 1 page.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