16 December 2020

From seeking asylum in Australia as a teenager, to launching a career in warehousing, find out how Life Without Barriers’ Employment Mentor Program has supported Junior to upskill and find work.

Just two years ago, Junior departed Papua New Guinea and arrived in Australia as an asylum seeker with his mother and young siblings. At just 17 years old, the move left Junior feeling both relieved but unsure about his future.

After completing Year 11 at Rooty Hill High School in Sydney’s western suburbs, Junior developed good friendships and a love of playing football, but his focus soon turned to finding gainful employment so he could support himself and his family. That’s when Life Without Barriers' National Immigration Support Service (NISS) team stepped in to support Junior with this goal, through the new Employment Mentor Program.

“Our Employment Mentor Program is designed to help people seeking asylum in Australia to find employment. Some of the challenges we can assist with include developing their English language skills and accessing education,” said Life Without Barriers’ NISS Manager, Panos Massouris. “This year we have introduced five new Employment Mentors to this exciting NISS program, which means we can support more people.”

With Junior’s background and eagerness to learn and upskill, the NISS team soon connected him with a skilled Employment Mentor, Thushyanathan Kailanathan (better known as Thushy). Thushy was able to support Junior with assessing his study and employment options, plus completing enrolment applications.

“We felt Junior would be a good fit for our Employment Mentor Program because he displayed such a willingness to get enrolled in a course that would afford him a pathway to meaningful employment,” explains Panos. “He decided to study a Certificate III in Warehousing because of the short study time and immediate employability.”

With Life Without Barriers’ support, Junior has since began studying his Certificate III in Warehousing, which once completed, will open doors to viable employment opportunities organised by the education provider.

“The mentor program was great – life can be a big struggle without much help, but I feel lucky to get the skills to work,” says Junior.

After completing his training and gaining experience in warehousing, Junior hopes to work towards achieving his childhood dream of becoming a qualified mechanic. We wish him all the best as he launches his career with a new set of skills and a vision of what he wants to achieve.

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