ASRC offers employment to VU asylum seeker students

01 July 2020

Several VU and VU Polytechnic asylum seeker students have been offered paid employment positions at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre based in Footscray, with roles guaranteed for at least six months. For some of our students, this is the first paid job they have secured since arriving in Australia eight years ago.

Julie Madden, VU’s Asylum Seeker Liaison Officer was instrumental in notifying our students of the opportunities, and connecting them to VU Employ, the University’s career advice and support centre in order to help them prepare for the job interviews.

All the students are asylum seekers on temporary visas that allow a non-citizen to remain lawfully in Australia. One of these students, Asma, is currently studying a Bachelor of Law, who has completed the Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice at VU Polytechnic. 

Asma and her family, including two young children have experienced increased hardship and dependence on support services as they are not eligible for Centrelink payments. She is grateful for this opportunity as her husband has lost all paid work due to COVID-19. 

Asma secured a paid position at the ASRC in the legal team as a junior paralegal earlier this month. Asma expressed her gratitude to Julie Madden and the VU Employ team for their guidance and support:

“I have been successful in securing the role at the ASRC. I would like to thank you Julie for providing me with this opportunity. This has changed my life and it is because of you that I have this chance. 

Thank you so much for your support and especially I want to thank the VU careers team who prepared me for the interview. I found the 40-minute session very useful and beneficial. Even if I didn’t get the job, it was still a good experience for me. I encourage all those students who want to have their first job interview to seek help from VU careers team.”

VU Employ arranged practice Zoom interview sessions with the students, and this formed part of the successful outcome.

Julie says, “This is an amazing result given the current economic and employment crisis. Thank you to Leonie Nott and the VU Careers team for being responsive to my request to assist with interview preparation across a weekend at such short notice.”

Congratulations to Asma and all our students who have secured employment with ASRC:

  • Nahid  (Bachelor of Law), employed as a junior paralegal 
  • Hossein (Certificate IV in Cybersecurity), employed in a data entry and food distribution administration role 
  • Fatemeh (Bachelor of Criminal Justice), who started out at VU Polytechnic and studied Certificate IV in Business
  • Zahra (Bachelor of Criminal Justice), who started out at VU Polytechnic and studied Certificate IV in Business
  • Bahareh (Bachelor Business in Accounting), who started out at VU Polytechnic and studied Diploma of Accounting.

The job opportunities have arisen from state government’s Working for Victoria initiative, partnering with the Victorian Trades Hall Council. As part of the agreement designed to support Victorians into jobs, the ASRC will receive funding for 90 FTE positions, which will place up to 120 people into new roles within the organisation on a 6-month fixed term contract, of which 95% of these positions will be filled by people seeking asylum.

About the Ayslum Seeker Resource Centre

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is one of Australia’s largest human rights organisation providing support to people seeking asylum. ASRC is an independent not-for-profit organisation whose programs support and empower people seeking asylum to maximise their own physical, mental and social well-being. 

From L-R: Julie Madden with Asma, pictured outside the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Footscray.

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