Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.
Refugee Week coincides with World Refugee Day (20 June) and is coordinated nationally by the Refugee Council of Australia.
This year the Refugee Week theme is ‘Celebrating the Year of Welcome’.
The term refugee is used to describe anyone who is forced to leave their home country for many reasons, such as conflict or violence. Sometimes it is also used to describe someone who has to move because of a natural disaster.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, at least 70.8 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes. Among them are nearly 25.9 million are refugees.
Refugees can face harsh conditions and extreme difficulties in leaving their home and country and finding asylum and resettling in a new location.
In Australia in 2018-2019, there were 24,566 people seeking asylum other than those arriving by boat.
Once they’ve entered into Australia and have been accepted as a refugee or asylum seeker, people often still face difficulties in settling in and finding employment.
Of all our humanitarian arrivals, only 17% are employed 18 months after settlement and many of those are under-employed in unskilled work, unable to utilise their professional experience.
Since 2018, Konica Minolta has partnered with CareerSeekers which places qualified interns who are either refugees or asylum seekers into organisations to help them gain experience and professional networks in Australia.
Since the partnership began, Konica Minolta have accepted 4 interns through Career Seekers, and have employed every one of them after their 12 week internship.
“Finding a job for those who don’t have an Australian experience is difficult. Yet, with the help of CareerSeeker I was able to get job at Konica Minolta. I have been working in Konica Minolta for 7 months, I have learnt a lot about the Australian Workplace culture and the diversity in the company. Working in Konica Minolta helped me to improve many different aspect of my career. It is great to see companies like Konica Minolta who support Asylum Seekers and Refugees, they make a difference in people's life.” Asem Al Athwari, Client Services Officer
“This was an eye opener experience for me. The CareerSeekers program allowed me to realise that sometimes all people need is a chance, regardless of what experience they may have. I hope we can bring more people from diverse backgrounds to Konica Minolta in the future”. Victor Row, National Manager, Client Services & Asset Finance
CareerSeekers is a non-profit organisation which supports refugees and asylum seekers who are either currently studying at university, or looking to restart their professional career in Australia.
The partnership between CareerSeekers and Konica Minolta is a new way of sourcing talent, and will enable us to bring skilled and experienced groups of people from diverse cultural backgrounds to work with Konica Minolta Australia. CareerSeekers also provides in-depth preparation for both the business and people who seeking asylum.
"The wonderful program offered by CareerSeekers connects participants with many progressive companies that are looking to increase workforce diversity and inclusion with positive outcomes for both parties. They may be job seekers today, but they are our business and community leaders of tomorrow and if I can play a very small part in assisting them to gain meaningful employment, then that will be reward enough!" Shane Blandford, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer.
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