Helping its multicultural clients to find employment is the focus of CatholicCare Tasmania’s Drop In program.
Established last year and supported by volunteer workers, the Drop In is part of CatholicCare Tasmania’s Multicultural Services Program (MSP).
MSP Activities Coordinator Virginia Vaughan Williams said many of the Drop In’s clients faced challenges finding work, including having their international qualifications recognised in Australia and difficulty accessing their written employment and training records from overseas.
Surprisingly however, language is not always a barrier, with many Drop In clients fluent in three or more languages.
“Some people have five languages, they are very smart,” Mrs Vaughan Williams said.
The Drop In has had a constant stream of clients since it started last year, including men and women from a wide variety of countries.
The program is supported by two volunteers in the morning and the afternoon, who have helped clients find work in areas including hospitality, fruit picking and labouring, as well as with preparation of their resumes and job applications.
“It’s been wonderful, I suppose you could say it’s a small success in what we have been doing and word is spreading,” Mrs Vaughan Williams said.
While most of the work was part-time or casual, Mrs Vaughan Williams said this often provided clients with the experience and references needed to pursue other more permanent positions.
Drop In clients also showed a determination to work in any position available.
“Everyone wants to work and everyone is willing to try anything, even if they have got a four year university degree, they are very willing and want to work,” Mrs Vaughan Williams said.
Employment and the Drop In, was also an important social outlet for people who have come to Tasmania as asylum seekers or humanitarian entrants.
“Work provides connection and the Drop In also fulfils a social need, because people are coming in talking to us, gradually getting to know the volunteers,” Mrs Vaughan Williams said.
“The Drop In environment is flexible and feels a bit more casual because people can also come and have a cup of tea and a biscuit or make some toast.
“I think it makes people feel more settled, which is very good.”
The Drop In is open Mondays from 11am to 3.30pm at ‘The Cottage’ in the courtyard, at the Catholic Diocesan Centre, 35 Tower Road, New Town.
For more information on volunteering or the Drop In program call CatholicCare’s MSP Manager, James Norman on 6278 1660.