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Alumni Experiences – Daniel

Daniel is a Participant in our John Holland Pathway Program. Here’s a snapshot of his experience.

Daniel Mabil | Bachelor of Engineering (Civil & Structural), University of Adelaide, Masters of Project Management (current), University of South Australia | Junior Engineer John Holland

Making the most of difficult beginnings

Daniel was orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War and fled to neighbouring Kenya when he was nine. He lived in Kakuma Refugee Camp for many years until he was granted a humanitarian visa to enter Australia. Daniel had studied while he was living in the Refugee Camp and joined High School as soon as he arrived in Adelaide. This was no small achievement.

“When I arrived in Australia, I could barely speak any English, let alone use a computer, but my hard work paid off”, he says.

Daniel says that adjusting to life in his new country was fraught with issues.

“Like any other migrant, I experienced a lot of barriers when I arrived – adapting to my new life, culture shock, completing my studies, and learning to drive a car!”

A series of setbacks

The greatest challenge for Daniel was finding work in his field. After completing his degree and still not being able to find work that matched his qualifications, he went back to South Sudan to see if he could gain some engineering experience. Daniel worked there for around two years as a civil engineer working on a range of different projects including building hospitals and schools.

The war broke out again while he was there and he returned to safety in Australia. Daniel estimates that he applied for in excess of 200 jobs in the engineering sector before landing a role with Holden. He thought his luck had finally changed and was happy to be able to provide for his young family, but then the plant was shut down.

A call to inclusion

Daniel left his family in Adelaide and moved to Melbourne as he had heard of the “infrastructure boom”. After many rejections he learned of the John Holland Pathway Program and applied. Daniel broke into tears when he received the call from Abbey White, Diversity and Social Inclusion Manager to let him know he had been successful at gaining a role. “I’ll never forget that call. I think Abbey and I were both in tears”.

Daniel has worked in the Safety, Quality & Environmental (SQE) Team as a Quality Engineer for a Melbourne Water Capital Delivery Program. He has secured an ongoing role on the same team as a Quality Engineer.

Hope for the future

His family has now joined him in Melbourne and he says he “can now sit down and plan for the future”.

“I am now doing what I love doing. My contribution to Australian society is now tangible – I am involved in construction of infrastructures that I can later point to and say ‘I built that’. It brings me joy to be among people who build the infrastructures around us – not many professions can make such a big claim”.

For Daniel, the opportunity has taught him that “under no circumstances should you lose hope”. He feels strongly that “being part of this program means I have a role to play in encouraging my brothers and sisters to hope and look out for new opportunities”.

If your organisation is interested in finding out how to develop your own program, please contact info@corporatediversity.org.au or phone the Corporate Diversity Partnerships team on (03) 9421 7600.