Luula arrived from Eritrea with her young family and settled in a Melbourne housing estate. With one child still in Eritrea, Luula was motivated by a strong desire to find employment in order to reunite her family and finance their future in Australia. Her husband’s very strong values around being the sole financial provider for the family proved to be a barrier. Luula pursued employment despite resistance from her husband, which led to their relationship breaking down and left her the sole carer for her two young children.
It is very challenging raising young children on Centrelink support. With limited access to child care, Luula was often unable to attend job clubs, training courses or job interviews. Another major barrier to gaining employment was her English language fluency. Although she had some knowledge of the language, the Australian accent and slang proved very difficult for her to master. Luula enrolled in English classes and completed a PSA (Patient Services Assistant) course but found transitioning into employment very difficult due to the foreignness of the application and interview processes. Despite receiving little support, after completing 265 hours of work placement she eventually gained a role in outer Melbourne as a PSA.
When Luula heard about the Centre for Work and Learning in Fitzroy (a Brotherhood of St Laurence employment support initiative) she decided to join. The perfect candidate to join the ‘Care for Caring - Refugee Employment Program’, Luula was now studying for her Certificate III in Aged Care, and eager to gain work in the area.
The Care for Caring program enabled Luula to receive tailored employment support and helped her develop the skills required to prepare for job applications, such as resume preparation, interview technique training and developing communication skills in order to articulate her employability. When asked, “How has this program helped you the most?” Luula replied, “By helping me understand what employers need, how to apply for jobs in Australia, understanding Australian workplace culture and helping me prepare for interviews. I have learnt so much and understand now why I wasn't being successful in getting the jobs before.” Following completion of her Certificate III in Aged Care, Luula continued to attend the Centre regularly to receive targeted support.
Luula found part-time employment as a PSA at a local hospital whilst continuing the search for work as a PCA. She applied to and was successful in joining the Brotherhood of St Laurence' casual bank of Personnel Care Attendants.
Soon she was being offered shifts in a range of aged care facilities. Within 6 months of working with BSL Workforce Solutions, Luula was offered a permanent position as a PCA at Inner Eastern Community Health Services, a position she now holds. She is very excited about her future and so pleased with the support she has received through the Care for Caring Program. Luula’s dream is to become a Division 2 Nurse in an Aged Care Home.
The Skilled Medical Care for Caring Refugee Employment Program Through the Brotherhood of St Laurence Melbourne is Funded Through the Company's Social Responsibility Program