Stirling migrants share employment stories through film

Tharanga De Silva.
Tharanga De Silva.

THARANGA De Silva went from working as a United Nations lawyer in Sri Lanka to being employed in an aged care kitchen in Perth.

The Beechboro resident is one of four migrants who have shared their stories via a short film as part of a joint project between MercyCare, RootsTV, Kaleidoscope Initiative and the City of Stirling.

Mrs De Silva moved to Australia in search of better opportunities for her young son but experienced a big change in employment herself.

“It was hard initially as a newcomer, but then I later realised it was a good start to learn the culture and understand how the WA workplace works,” she said.

“It was essentially cultural transition training.

“I was encouraged to share my story because as a newcomer it is very hard to get started and if I can help others realise there are many opportunities in this country then that is a good thing.”

She now works as a community development coordinator at ASeTTS, an organisation that assists refugees rebuild their lives.

The MercyCare Career Centre in Mirrabooka helps people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds make informed education, training and work choices.

Career advisor Helen Murray said the films showed the employment journey many migrants undertook, “highlighting their challenges and successes and the strategies they used to adapt to new cultural and employment settings”.

“They also share the perspective of employers, who explain various aspects to consider in employing a culturally diverse workforce and the benefits this brings to the workplace,” she said.

“The project aims to create awareness to both newcomers and employers to promote that it is possible to make a successful employment transition.”

Not-for-profit organisation RootsTV engaged at-risk young people for the filmmaking project to help them build skills in film and media.

The City of Stirling’s Kaleidoscope Initiative aims to harness the economic benefits of migration and mayor Mark Irwin said it was important because the City had the highest migration intake in WA.

“It has been great to see first-hand how programs like this can help newcomers and we look forward to continuing to work with our community partners to generate positive outcomes for the entire community,” he said.

View the films at www.kaleidoscopeinitiative.com.au.