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)?

5 stars!

Interested in joining the next cycle as a mentee?

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.

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.

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.

Kaleidoscope Mentee Success Story – Siddier Chambers

Kaleidoscope Mentee Success Story – Siddier Chambers

We spoke with Siddier Chambers (LinkedIn), a current mentee of the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, and asked her to share her experiences, benefits and successes from the participating in the program.

1. Tell us a little about your home/country.

I’m from the beautiful island of Jamaica, where we produce the best music (reggae), the fastest man in the world (Usain Bolt) and where it’s always summer!

2. Tell us a little about your employment/professional experience in your home country.

Back home I worked with the Government of Jamaica in several senior management and policy roles for 12 years.

3. How long have you been in Australia (and WA in particular)?

I did my PhD in Public Policy at Curtin University between 2013-2017; went back home and returned to Australia in November 2019, over 10 months ago.

4. Can you tell us about the challenges you have faced in your job search journey in WA?

Responding to the selection criteria was the greatest difficulty I encountered in my job search.

5. What skills did you gain from participating in the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program and how did this help you in your job search?

My ability to respond to the selection criteria and how to strengthen my resume were some of the skills that were beneficial from the KMP.

6. What are three key benefits (e.g. confidence) you gained by joining the program?

Being more confident, having enhanced knowledge of the work culture and a supportive network are some of the benefits I’m enjoying as a KMP mentee.

7. What was the best part of being a mentee? 

Meeting like-minded professionals and having a mentor were the best part of the KMP for me.

8. In your opinion, did you improve your understanding of Australian workplace culture and job application processes through participation in the program?

Learning about the Application Tracking System was an eye-opening experience for me. I believe being exposed to the top employability skills was a real bonus that I will keep and hone throughout my career.

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

I now have connections with a large group of international professionals, which has significantly expanded my professional network here in Australia.

10. What advice would you share with a new mentee starting the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program?

Enrol early, make the most of every opportunity and you’ll have a rewarding experience as a KMP mentee!

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.

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