In late 2019, the Unidus Hands of Hope English Class (Advanced Level) ran a series of lessons on Australian English. It was taught by one of our volunteers, Ben Ley, and was very well received and thoroughly enjoyed by the students. When the teaching series ended, we asked the students for what they would like to learn next.
We received an overwhelming response from them – their main goal was to obtain paid employment in Australia. Being new migrants who did not have many connections, this was a huge challenge and many had begun to despair of ever finding a job. They had registered for the Australian English class in the hope that they could better understand the locals and eventually find jobs.
In 2020, we started a Jobseekers class with up to eight students at a time. Classes were run in Unidus at the same time as the other English classes on 2nd and 4th Monday nights. We covered topics related to looking for jobs, such as cover letters and resumes. We also helped correct their grammar, spelling and content. In addition, we invited speakers from various fields to share their experiences. To date, we have invited speakers from the aged care and accounting sectors. After the speakers had completed delivering talks, students would ask the speakers questions relating to the sector being discussed. This was very valuable to the students in deciding if they were interested to work in the sectors.
We also invited speakers from the Human Resources sector, namely recruiters, to explain the finer points of interviewing and being interviewed. This was very well received; we hope to have mock interviews and invite more speakers in the future.
Due to Covid-19 regulations, we had to stop meeting at Unidus from late March 2020. We set up a WhatsApp chat group for our students to stay in touch and continue providing support to them. We also ran a zoom session in May 2020 covering the topic of video interviewing. We hope to run more online sessions until we are able to physically meet again as a group.
We would like to invite recent migrants to Australia who want to enter the job market to join our Jobseekers class. We also seek volunteer speakers who are working in any field to give talks and field questions online or in person. To find out more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Maureen Yeow