The meandering journey to your professional peak, Eva Mwakichako

The meandering journey to your professional peak, Eva Mwakichako

Over the last 15 years, Eva Mwakichako has made the most of every opportunity in Australia.

Eva changed career paths many times, adding new skills to her already impressive resume. Finally, her persistence paid off and she found her dream job which utilised the skills she had acquired along the way.

Being flexible and enjoying every step of a meandering career path was my approach

In 1995, Eva arrived in Adelaide from Kenya to study for a Master’s in Population and Human Resource Management. She completed five years’ industry experience in Kenya, but on her return to Australia, could not get a job. She received surprising feedback that her lack of Australian and local professional experience was the cause.

The path to the perfect job

Eva diversity

Finding a dream job is rarely straightforward, and this is especially true in a new country. It took many years and different career paths before Eva found hers, three years ago. But Eva made the most of her journey and enjoyed every step of reskilling in order to fulfill her goal. She understood that it would take time and often be frustrating, but that she would get there in the end.

Eva KI wkshop3

Eva researched the skilled occupations list for Australian visa programs and decided upon aged care. She started on the path towards getting the required qualifications for this new career. Aged care remains on the eligible skilled occupation list; it is an area which will continue to grow with Australia’s aging population.

Being an optimistic, glass half full person, I saw aged care work as an ideal opportunity to gain work experience and increase my understanding of Australian culture. 

While working in aged care, Eva embarked on a second reskilling path and studied Early Childhood Education at ECU, which built on her master’s qualification. This provided her with skills in education which would become very useful in future positions, and allowed Eva to teach at an early learning centre.

Eva also volunteered at the Ethnic Communities Council of WA. She enjoyed working with people from multicultural comm

unities and observed first-hand how hard it was for other migrants. This led to a job at Relationships Australia where Eva used all her newly-acquired skills, running parenting workshops for newly arrived families.

Next came Eva’s fourth reskilling role at the Independent Living Centre working with elderly people from different cultures, and people with a disability. She also trained aged care providers in culturally-appropriate care.   

Eva’s fifth and current role is where all her skills and experiences have come together. It involves identifying and implementing strategies to engage with CaLD community members. She organises and encourages whole-of-community participation in a number of events, and works to remove cultural barriers through communication and activities.

It’s because of the breadth and depth of her work and her focused commitment to CaLD groups, that Eva won the Outstanding Individual Achievement Award at the Office of Multicultural Interests Awards.

Where does Eva call home?

A visit back to Kenya further entrenched Eva’s connection to Australia.

My children were asking me, when are we going home? I replied we are home. It was this moment that I understood how my children felt. Australia was their home. If they are happy and feel at home, then I feel the same.

Personally, for Eva that moment came during her Citizenship ceremony.

It was during the ceremony that I knew it; it triggered me to feel like this really is my home.

Eva is very proud and loves working at the City of Stirling. She is a fantastic representative of the City and the many communities for which she advocates. Her relationships are deep as she has resonated across the CaLD and wider communities.

Advice to newcomers

Eva’s career story is a common one for migrants. One important tip that Eva would give to migrants is to be open to change. Eva encourages them to broaden their networks to include volunteering as it will build on their work experience, help them to meet other professionals and eventually get them a job.

Don’t get stressed out – it can be a slow career path. Enjoy every step, be flexible; it is a slow journey but it will happen.

 

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