“When COVID-19 hit and his commission-based pay dropped to “$200 or $300 a week” as he did not qualify for JobKeeper, Mr Ojogho left car sales and found work through a contact at the social enterprise Ability Works.
CEO Sue Boyce says his story is very familiar. “We have a whole business unit full of [highly skilled migrants] doing records scanning,” she says.
“When we go to the Brotherhood of St Lawrence or other job providers, what we get is electronics engineers, industrial engineers … but they are not accepted in Australia because their accent is very strong or they don’t fit what in Australia is considered the picture of a perfect employee.”
Progress of social inclusion in organisations has been slow and a small investment in ESL teaching would allow people with skills to apply them here and be cheaper than subsidising three to four years of study.
“There needs to be more opportunities, like ESL courses, for those experiencing discrimination and it needs to be driven by leaders. When there is commitment from the top, others will follow,” said Ms Boyce.”