New program puts skilled refugees in the sights of employers

Source: Daily Telegraph

L to R: Anna Robson with Syrian refugee, Nirary Dacho have started a new Refugee Intern program. Picture: John Appleyard

L to R: Anna Robson with Syrian refugee, Nirary Dacho have started a new Refugee Intern program. Picture: John Appleyard

THE combined experience of two dedicated Australians is changing the lives of newly arrived skilled refugees with a program that’s set to bridge the gap for gaining employment.

‘Refugee Intern’ is a new online platform to help refugees find work.

Working at the Nauru Detention Centre in 2015 gave Anna Robson an insight into the struggles facing many refugees, regardless of their skill level, and for Nirary Dacho that problem was his reality.

“I wanted to do something to help but didn’t know how,” Ms Robson said.

When Ms Robson returned to Australia she went back to IT.

She was among dozens of technology experts and entrepreneurs who attended the inaugural TechFugees Australia Hackathon in November 2015, developing innovative solutions to support refugees in the early stages of settlement.

During this hackathon she met Mr Dacho who had just begun his new life in Australia

An IT analyst with a masters degree in web science, a bachelor’s degree in IT, and more than eight years’ experience in the IT sector, Mr Dacho waited for years to be granted a humanitarian visa to Australia with his family.

“Nobody wants to come here and not work when they were all working in their home country,” – Nirary Dacho

“When I arrived a year ago, I sent out over 80 applications. Finally my company saw my interview on Lateline and they offered me a contract,” Mr Dacho said. He regards himself as extremely lucky to escape Syria with all his family and find work in Australia.

“It took seven years of waiting in Lebanon to find out if we were eligible to come to Australia,” he said. “Then it was another year of being here before I was able to find work.”

Together, Mr Dacho and Ms Robson created Refugee Intern with the support of the Ignite team, who helped with business and marketing plans, and budgets.

“When I heard Anna talking about the need to find a way to make the most out of the skills brought to Australia, I knew I wanted to work with her to find a solution, because it was exactly how I felt,” Mr Dacho said.

For her part, Ms Robson noted that refugees are “very innovative because they’re able to make something from nothing”.

“I’ve seen that first-hand,” she said. “We already have 10 companies working with us and we’ve placed five refugees in the first month of starting this program.

“We have another 61 skilled refugees still waiting for any job opportunity.”

Mr Dacho said Refugee Intern was the ideal opportunity for both employers and employees.

“Nobody wants to come here and not work when they were all working in their home country,” he said.

Ms Robson and Mr Dacho are inviting more businesses to log onto their website at www.rufugeeintern.com and help refugees into settlement by offering any form of job opportunity.

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