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.