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Employment helps NSF students help others

By Fiona West | July 22, 2022
(L-R) Midya Boya with NSF Stakeholder Engagement Manager Basim Shamaon and Pathway Guidance Advisor Rudy Dominguez.

Navitas Skilled Futures has helped a Fairfield AMEP student find her first job in Australia, in an important and meaningful community-based role, with two more students to follow.

Midya Boya ran her first session this month as a Bilingual Community Educator (BCE) in the South Western Sydney Local Health District and said it was “amazing”.

“I was really excited and I am still very excited, because I saw so many different people, I speak their languages, and gave them a lot of information they didn’t know and they could ask me about and now I feel I am an important person,” Midya said.

Navitas Skilled Futures Stakeholder Engagement Manager Basim Shamaon said the job opportunities were the result of a relationship with the local multicultural health service, which was looking to recruit BCEs from Assyrian and Chaldean backgrounds.

BCEs are trained to deliver health education programs to culturally and linguistically diverse communities in their own languages, enabling cultural sensitivity and better understanding of important health information.

The paid employment offers full training and ongoing contract employment, and most importantly, gives new migrants an opportunity to gain real-world work experience in adult education, delivering key messages that inform and assist their local communities.

“As a Stakeholder Engagement Managers one of the many things we do is look for employment pathways for clients while they are studying with us. This job is a really good opportunity for our students to work in Australia in an important role that also enables them to build confidence and new skills, from session planning to initiation, to delivering and evaluating – they are the main driver for these sessions, it’s all in their hands,” Basim said.

“Midya started last week and is doing really well, and there are two more students also about to start, after going through the application and interview process. It has all been a great experience for them.”

Midya was a teacher in Iraq before moving to Australia with her husband and two children in 2020. With a passion for education and fluent in Syrian, Caldean, Arabic and Kurdish, Midya was well placed to apply for the BCE role.

She was initially hesitant due to the autonomous nature of the work, as BCEs are trained and provided with materials but are left to coordinate their own meetings in their locations of their choice. But she said the support of a local priest encouraged her to give it a go.

“At St Maria’s Catholic Church in Fairfield, I met the priest and told him I have been in Australia two-and-a-half years and this is my first job and I just want someone to support me,” she said.

“He gave me everything I needed and he let the people know, ‘This is her first job, please encourage her, we have to encourage and help each other’. And after that, he said, ‘I’m very proud of you. You came here two-and-a-half years ago and already you’re doing this job.’ It was a very big push for me.”

Midya’s first session was on aged care, letting people know what is available to them and how they can access it. This will be followed by sessions on cancer, female safety and violence.

“I just want to thank Basim and Navitas because without them I couldn’t find his job. So many people want to work here but they don’t know where to go. We are educated so we just want to find our way. And I’m very grateful to be given this opportunity.”

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