Volunteering as a pathway to employment – Andrea Creado

Volunteering as a pathway to employment – Andrea Creado

Andrea Creado came from India to Australia and has lived here for 16 years. When Andrea first arrived, she worried a lot about finding a job, buying a house, getting a driver’s licence and many other common challenges.

Andrea went back to study, became an active community volunteer and she is now the CEO of Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre, based in the City of Stirling.

Andrea understands the anxieties felt by many newcomers in attempting to settle and thrive in a new country. She encourages people to be patient and set realistic but empowering goals, such as learning English and getting a driver’s licence. According to Andrea, the most important first step is to get connected and engage with all of the local support services available. For Andrea, this was the beginning of settling in and feeling at home here.

 Adjusting to life and challenges in Australia

I arrived in Australia in 2001 from India, where I used to work as a counsellor – my (study) background was in human development and psychology. I arrived here with my daughter and my husband, my daughter was a year and a half old. So I was just trying to adjust and get her to adjust to new routines and a different environment. While I was settling her in we moved to a rental place. The day we moved in we found out my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, so my husband had to go back to India. So I was left alone here with my little one. I applied for perhaps 100 jobs in the first three months of being here, but as a lot of people know you might migrate with certain qualifications but those qualifications are not recognised here. So I went to a job search agency and then I realised I would have to requalify. So that’s how I started, I went back to university, I looked for volunteer opportunities, and that’s how I started my journey of working. For me now working at Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre, I started there as a volunteer all those years ago when I was looking for (paid) work. I kind of grew from a volunteer to a part time project officer, and then in 2007 I became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). So that’s my journey of working in Australia.

Andrea’s advice to newcomers

The best thing somebody can do when you first arrive here is to get acquainted with all the services that are available. It’s really good to get connected with the services, like come to the library, become a member and start using the services. The quicker you start using (the services), the more you feel connected, the more you feel that you belong here, you start to understand how things work. It helps you to settle in and then start looking for what’s available to you.  You can pick up new skills, there’s opportunities to study, there’s opportunities to volunteer, there’s opportunity to try a new profession. So that’s why I think it’s really important to get connected with all these wonderful services available.

Visit our newcomers page to find out more about the services that can help you achieve your employment goals in Australia.

Sign up to the Kaleidoscope Initiative’s mailing list to find about events, programs and activities that can support you in your journey.   


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