Brainstorm Mornings – HMW Improve employment outcomes for humanitarian migrants

Brainstorm Mornings

is Tasmania’s unique change maker community where thinkers, innovators, leaders, entrepreneurs or anyone who is passionate about doing good to people and the environment get together to discuss and create a vision for a better future. Hosted by social entrepreneur Marisol Miro Quesada, the group meets monthly to tackle complex social and environmental problems. As a practitioner and coach of design thinking, lean and customer centred innovation, Marisol believes every problem is an opportunity for design and uses those techniques to facilitate the co-design sessions. By framing the monthly challenges as “How might we questions” we set ourselves up for innovative solutions. Our informal gatherings invite a community organisation or NFP every month to help them tackle a complex problem, they present their challenge and we brainstorm ideas to help them. So expect guest speakers, lots of post-its and people who want to work for an hour and a half on real issues, design, co-create solutions and in the process connect with others and get empowered to act and achieve change. A vegan/gluten free morning tea is always available.

The purpose of this meet-up was to hold a hands-on, interactive discussion using the how might we question technique to ignite creativity and innovative thinking where local change makers could imagine new and innovative ways to ‘improve employment outcomes for former refugees and humanitarian migrants’ and highlight the importance of this issue in Tasmania’s economy and culture. Will this event inspire entrepreneurs, local councils, government, businesses, NFPs and other organisations to put humanitarian migrants on the agenda? We certainly hope so.

The challenge we tackled this month:How might we improve employment outcomes for former refugees and humanitarian migrants.

When and where: 10th of October 2017 at Hobart City Town Hall, Tasmania.
Hosted by Coinventa and facilitated by Marisol Miro Quesada, Coinventa’s Business Development.
Guest organisation and speaker: Beverley Jefferson, Multicultural Community Liaison Officer from the Settlement and Multicultural Affairs,Tasmania Office, Department of Social Services.
Thanks to our brilliant participants, Beverley Jefferson, Jennifer Manison, Melissa Wickins, Asif Akbari, Joselynn Baltra-Ulloa, Kate Vincent, Hami Mousavipour, Eric Sivret and Marisol Miro Quesada.

What participants said about the meet-up:

“It is surprising how much creativity can arise in a short timeframe! Thank you!”

“I am really inspired! We all just met and we are producing great ideas that will help people that really need it!”

“I am taking ideas that will help me in my career and settlement plans!”

From our guest speaker:

Our guest speaker Beverley Jefferson presented a summarised analysis of the current humanitarian migrant state in Tasmania:

We have anywhere between 450-750 humanitarian migrants arriving in Tasmania each year. There are very different cohorts of people arriving, ranging from people from Syria with a professional work background to families who have been living in camps for 20 years with limited access to either education or work.

The barriers for finding employment, as already understood are:

  • English
  • Lack of work experience
  • Lack of opportunities for women (women are 4 times more likely than men to not be employed or earning income after 18 months)
  • Poor health (many humanitarian migrants have complex mental and physical health issues)
  • Being recently arrived in Australia (no networks, limited cultural understanding of Australian workplaces, lack of work experience that potential employers understand the relevance of)

What we hear from humanitarian migrants is “We can’t get work until we learn English, but the best way to learn English is while you are working!” This fact has been borne out by multiple generations of migrants.

Insights – Measures already in place

  • We have English classes provided to humanitarian migrants.
  • We have conversational English volunteers who can go to peoples homes.
  • We have driving lessons available for humanitarian migrants, staffed by volunteers.
  • These are Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) with another arm that is Youth Migrant English Program. The aim of this is to move migrants through Cert 1 and hopefully through Cert 2 in English Language.
  • We have a number of services now set up with a focus on supporting migrants to find employment: Safe Haven Hub , Careers Pathway Pilot, TCCI Employer Connect aimed at higher level English speakers.
  • There are limited amounts of work placements and work experience are available. Basically there is far more interest in work placements than there are places available.
  • We hear from Jobactive providers that in general employers are not interested in taking on humanitarian migrants, when there are so many native English speakers looking for work. However we also know that in general humanitarian migrants are highly motivated employees, who do not have a motivation barrier, which many long term unemployed people have as a result of feelings of hopelessness, or addiction health issues.
  • We also know that the existing Tasmanian employers who have made the effort to employ humanitarian migrants are very impressed with the work ethic of this cohort.

Selected P.O.V. (points of view) the stories of two humanitarian migrants:

  • POV1 Fatimah: Fatimah is an Afghan Hazara single mother with 3 children. It is hard for her to find work because she has her children to care for, ranging in age – 3, 9 and 16. She has also experienced trauma, and finds noisy environments to be highly disturbing. She needs to find additional ways to support her family, as her children’s needs are exceeding her income. For example, playing futsal costs $7 per child per week, which has a significant impact on her income. She also feels the pressure to send money back to family members who are still living in refugee camps. Fatimah takes part in a local sewing club for migrant women, as it is a good way for her to save some money by making items that she would otherwise have to buy. It is also a family friendly environment, so she can bring her youngest child with her.  Fatimah is a skilled embroiderer, and the work is very delicate, as per traditional designs. Fatimah has very limited English, and does not feel comfortable attending the Adult Migrant English Program. The main reasons for this are that she never completed primary school, and finds the classroom very intimidating. She also is expected to leave her child in childcare in order to go to class, and she feels she cannot trust the child carers. She is aware there are English speaking volunteers who come to her home to engage in conversation, but she is hesitant about allowing strangers into her home. She cannot drive, and could not afford a car anyway. Fatimah is a very good cook, and keeps an immaculate house.
  • POV2 Bhim: Bhim is a Bhutanese Nepalese young man who can understand basic English if people speak slowly, but he struggles with the written word. Bhim has managed to find work fruit picking, but he has plans to marry his fiancée and start a family – which he does not want to do until he can earn more money and feel like he has a future beyond seasonal work. Bhim is fit and strong, but fears that the picking work may impact on his back muscles – but he would never dream of complaining, because he is too grateful for the work. Bhim is slowly working towards gaining a drivers licence, but cannot afford a car, so is reliant on fellow seasonal workers to take him to and from picking opportunities. Bhim completed the equivalent of year 8 in the refugee camp he lived in, and has a thirst for knowledge. He also plays a prominent role in the sporting life of his community, coaching young players in soccer.

How Might We questions and ideas developed during the session

HMW questions are designed to trigger creative thinking and innovation and to promote team work. After an insightful presentation from Beverley, we used the POVs to come up with as many HMW questions and ideas as possible. This is the result:

  • HMW use lack of English to find work?
    • Develop a language and culture day for Australians (language, food, music, art, stories).
    • Set up project or business to build career pathways for own community language, teach Linc classes.
    • Encourage own language teaching to locals.
    • International work. Online work, remote work.
  • HMW make it cool for employers to employ refugees?
    • Testimonials of employers.
    • Grants support.
    • Network or ‘club’ of refugee employers.
    • Award and recognition for refugee employers.
  • HMW make it easy for them to start a business or be self-employed?
    • Business awards for new/established refugee run enterprises. Give role models.
    • By providing education, training.
    • Microloan fund for small business start-ups.
  • HMW make childcare a trustable environment form refugees?
    • Employ refugees in childcare.
    • Allow Fatimah to stay at centre and be part of activities. TAC model.
  • HMW get potential employers to understand the value of hiring refuges?
    • Business owners offering space e.g. kitchen to showcase skills.
  • HMW create a paid pathway of education to work
    • Apprenticeship plus paid labour while finishing education and pathway into apprenticeship /TAFE.
  • HMW leverage the broader community to make finding flexible work easier?
    • Create partnerships with organisations for mentors and projects.
    • Create submissions to shape policies and laws to help them integrate.
    • Gumtree for work opportunities for refugees.
  • HMW entirely remove the need to find a job?
    • Crowdfunding for refugees.
    • Refugee scholarships.
    • Refugee fund to invest in their future.
  • HMW make accessing transport easier and a learning opportunity?
    • Carpooling network.
  • HMW provide sport scholarships to migrant kids?
    • Partner with local sports clubs, football, netball, futsal, hockey.
    • Develop relationships with soccer Tas and local clubs to campion this initiatives.
  • HMW organise regular transport tot rural areas?
    • Local government support.
  • HMW bring work to Fatimah and Bihm?
  • HMW link Fatimah to her children’s school for English lessons opportunities?
    • Letting her sit on classroom and help as well.
    • By having parties and entertainment programs at school.
  • HMW find something Bihm loves (soccer) to ern him income?
    • Soccer holiday camp.
    • Schools sports program.
  • MHW enable Bihm to earn money growing in demand foods close to home e.g. mushroom farm?
    • Starter fund NILS.
    • Brokerage support to supply restaurants.
  • HMW offer more English language opportunities for Fatimah in secure classes?
    • Ask teachers to offer their skills.
  • HMW create job opportunities when the skills set required aligns with the skills of Fatimah and Bihm?
    • CV support and assessment. Advertise each refugee profile looking for work.
  • HMW assist Fatimah and Bihm to grain more financial support without employment.
    • Partner with personal financial advisors and mentors.
  • HMW make the employment and opportunity to gain more employment.
    • Train them in fields we don’t have enough skills and have to rely on outsourcing.
  • HMW create pathways into employment e.g. internships.
    • Translated group NEIS training.
    • Mentoring program.
    • Local business support for refugees. Work programs.
  • HMW change work cultures/desired attributes away from western ways of thinking?
    • Educate on the power of collective workforces: the Burmese, the Bhutanese.
  • HMW showcase the skills of Fatimah and Bihm to local business owners?
    • A champions day at employment expo..
    • Organising markets that are focused on humanitarian migrants, products, produce…
  • HMW engage local businesses so that they interact with people like Fatimah and Bihm?
    • Show businesses the benefits they will get from hiring them.
  • HMW encourage Fatimah and Bihm to connect to a skills development organisation?
  • HMW create a central hub for refugees to access all opportunities for support/networks/skills/training/development and connect to other migrants?
  • HMW create incentives for employers?
  • HMW introduce Fatimah and Bihm to farming communities to access regular work?
    • Activate Country Women’s association in this space.
  • HMW connect Fatimah and Bihm to friends in the Tasmanian community?
    • Show them how to discover free events through Eventbrite and Link.
  • HMW broker Fatimah and Bihm to develop relationships with champions in industry communities like farming?
    • Create an ‘evengelist/promoter’ network of people that will promote refugees and find opportunities for them.
    • Access group of women around industries e.g. growers in Campania.
    • Create a regional migrant friends network.
  • HMW find other former migrants to share experiences with B?
    • Ask religious communities e.g. mosque to set aside space for friendship group.
  • HMW let people know about B?
    • Arts projects connecting communities with exhibitions and storytelling.
    • Church groups.

We value your contribution

Do you have answers to our HMW questions you would like to share? Ideas that our HMW questions have triggered? Please leave us a comment below, we would love to hear your thoughts.

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By | 2018-06-11T07:55:23+00:00 October 14th, 2017|Brainstorm Mornings, Events|