Unlocking Refugee Talent in New Zealand
By Rochelle Stewart-Allen
Arriving as a refugee in a new country means it’s time to build a new life. This can look markedly different than the lifestyle a refugee may previously have lived in their home country, but what remains constant is that person’s set of professional skills, qualifications and experience. Although skills and experience sometimes need to be adapted to fit the environment of a new home country, they can still provide significant economic and social benefits to the individual and the wider society.
Take Naji for example; he arrived in Australia from Syria and says the government job he started made him feel useful, productive and most importantly, provided the opportunity to start rebuilding his life. It was his MBA qualification that enabled him to secure a role in a diverse organisation while feeling part of a supportive and inclusive team.
When Refugee Talent Co-founder Nirary Dacho arrived in Australia he found it difficult to find a job. This was despite holding a masters qualification in web science and having more than eight years’ experience in networking in the IT field. However, Nirary’s frustrations and inability to secure a new job led to the emergence of his entrepreneur spirit.
Nirary launched the Refugee Talent digital platform in 2016 with his business partner Anna Robson. The Refugee Talent platform connects skilled refugees with companies offering short and long-term employment opportunities. Over the past two years, Refugee Talent has gone on to place more than 100 former refugees into paid positions.
Former refugee Akram’s law qualification allowed him to secure a full-time government job, which he says is all down to the assistance of Refugee Talent.
“What I like about Refugee Talent is that they respect my experience and skills and always do their best to find me the right opportunities,” Akram says.
HOST International has partnered with Refugee Talent to launch the platform in New Zealand.
Partnering with Refugee Talent allows us to build on the success they’ve achieved in Australia and open up the platform to former refugees now living in New Zealand. We know there are organisations in New Zealand that are struggling to fill their skill shortages. As 30% of refugees arrive in New Zealand with professional qualifications, Refugee Talent opens the door to new opportunities for employers and new arrivals.
To foster these benefits, HOST International will be working with local communities of people from refugee backgrounds to spread the word that people can enrol in the Refugee Talent platform. This will open up opportunities for their experience and qualifications to be viewed by New Zealand employers. Candidates can also download a PDF copy of their CV once they’ve completed their online profile.
With many companies recognising that diverse workforces increase the success of their businesses, HOST International will also be working with a number of key employers and membership organisations over the coming months to educate them about Refugee Talent.
It’s important that organisations recognise that people from refugee backgrounds offer a wealth of international experience, are multilingual and culturally diverse, and have international linkages around the globe. These are all important skills in this rapidly changing globalised world.
The Refugee Talent platform can be found at www.refugeetalent.co.nz