Three boys struggling to enter the workforce are now engaged in apprenticeships thanks to support from SydWest Multicultural Services.
Johnny, Fathi and Nizar*, three brothers now in their late teens and who arrived in Australia from Syria in 2014, live with their family in Blacktown.
On arrival, they were not proficient in English and were literate only in Arabic.
The boys were very keen to improve their language skills and get into education and employment pathways.
SydWest provided support for improving their English, linking them to education providers, and connecting them to other youth services to minimise isolation and accelerate integration into the wider Australian society.
They went through Evans Intensive English Centre and Adult Migrant English Program and later progressed to TAFE to further improve their language skills and set themselves for successful transition into apprenticeship and traineeship programs.
Because of their passion for sport, the boys were involved in weekly soccer and basketball training activities at Blacktown as well as some school holiday recreational arts and crafts and swimming lessons.
Regular one-on-one meetings, ongoing support and close monitoring of referrals to other services were significant in assisting them in their settlement journey in Australia.
The short-term goal for the support provided was to help address barriers that the boys faced as they progressed from English centres to regular education and employment activities. That helped in creating a smooth process through which potential issues and needs were identified and tailored services were provided in a timely manner.
The long-term goal is to ensure that the ongoing services provided culminate in the boys’ self-reliance and active participation in Australia society.
Effective communication and continuous engagement in key activities proved vital. The boys were involved in every layer of action, ranging from needs assessment to the delivery of the agreed individual plan. The step-by-step approach was a useful strategy in addressing new and emerging issues and needs.
The language barrier was an issue at the very beginning as the boys struggled to fully engage with the referred services. However, continued discussion with the services on cultural competency helped address this.
“Sydwest’s support has been very valuable to get me to where I am right now,” said Johnny.
*Not their real names.