Sunday is a Participant in our Opening Doors Program, a joint initiative with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Here’s a snapshot of her experience.
A chance of a better life
Before migrating to Australia with her family, Sunday Jongkuch spent her first fourteen years in the Kakuma Refugee Camp. “I was born in the refugee camp and life there was not easy. The chances of me studying at a University level were very limited. Migrating to Australia held the chance of a better life with the opportunity to study and access better employment opportunities.”
“Mastering the English language; particularly the Aussie slang was a major challenge during High School, and then finding part- time work in retail or a fast-food chain to support my family was also really hard. All my classmates had this local network that I didn’t, so they got these jobs ahead of me. These same barriers reappeared after I completed my university degree when I started to look for professional roles.
Sunday was surprised to learn she had been successful at gaining a role on the Opening Doors Program with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). “Even though Jesuit Social Services were very supportive at the interview, I was so nervous and didn’t think I had done enough to get the job.”
Building networks and opportunities
Sunday has worked for the past ten months as a Law Interpretation Officer in the Interpretive Advice (IA) team in Superannuation. “I’m really proud that my confidence and technical skills have developed and I’ve enjoyed taking on more complex work and cases each month.”
“We were given advice at the program Preparation Training about how important networking was and to take advantage of any opportunities that presented themselves, so I joined one of the Social Clubs at my office and volunteered to organise our site Christmas party which has been a great way to meet people from across the different business areas”.
A welcoming experience
Sunday’s experience with the ATO has been nothing but positive. “I was apprehensive when I started as I was worried I wouldn’t fit it, that I would be the only person of South Sudanese background in my building, but my fears soon disappeared”,
“The minute I walked in, everyone was welcoming and so supportive”. Sunday has not only felt welcomed but has felt that her learning and development have been supported in ways she couldn’t have imagined possible. I’ve appreciated having the program check-ins over the past ten months – mentoring and coaching me, and at times, being there to support me, but on occasions asking me to push myself out of my comfort zone – it’s been a huge learning curve”.
“Whilst on the Opening Doors Program, I have become more confident and independent. I feel that I am capable to do so much more than I ever thought was possible. I can’t wait to start with the Graduate Program here at the ATO next year”.
If your organisation is interested in finding out how to develop your own program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Corporate Diversity Partnerships team on (03) 9421 7600.