Nirary Dacho arrived in Sydney as a Syrian refugee on 18 June 2015 with his family. The 29 year old IT programmer and lecturer with two university degrees went on to apply for over 100 jobs with no success: he didn’t have local experience which many companies demand from prospective employees.
Anna Robson worked in Nauru in detention centres and wanted to help out with refugees settling in Australia. She decided to go to the Techfugees Hackathon in November last year in Liverpool, Sydney where 150 founders, entrepreneurs, developers and investors teamed up with NGOs and refugees to develop ideas and startups to help with settling refugees.
That’s where she met Nirary, one of the speakers at the event and ended up as co-founder for their new start-up,Refugee Talent.
“The refugees spoke about the challenges they faced in Australia. The main one that stood out was that finding a job even when you’re highly skilled can be really difficult. Both myself and Nirary were interested in finding a solution for this problem and so we joined forces that weekend to build our platform, Refugee Talent, the aim being to connect skilled refugees looking for work with companies offering opportunities,” said Anna.
“I was at the hackathon because it was organised to create software solutions to help refugees, said Nirary. I am a refugee with a background in human rights and programming. In Syria, I also worked with the Assyrian human rights network for 4 years helping with refugee resettlement and human rights violation so everything about the event spoke to me. I met Anna and we came up with the idea to build a platform to help refugees find jobs. We find that skilled refugees often have lots of experience and knowledge from their home countries but when they come to Australia they end up with nothing because of the lack of local experience.”
Refugee Talent provides skilled refugees with 3-6 months internships in companies providing local experience after which they can apply for jobs. The organisation also aims to provide full time jobs along with internships.
“We launched Refugee Talent last year in November following the hackathon. Since then, we’ve focused on getting the word out to refugees first so we can build a good candidate base and then worked with companies to find out what opportunities they had to offer. When we were featured in Sydney Morning Herald that’s when companies started approaching us,” said Anna.
“I feel Australia provides a very big opportunity for refugees to develop themselves and study. But it’s hard to get started and people need support. That’s what we hope Refugee Talent will be able to provide,” said Nirary.
All images supplied by Refugee Talent.