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

Kan Tingpaw | Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours), Victoria University | Reconfiguration Plan Coordinator John Holland

Kan came to Australia from Myanmar as a 14 year old after being separated from his family and spending time in a Malaysian refugee camp. Upon his arrival, he spoke very little English and enrolled in a language course for six months in order to be eligible to attend High School. After completing his VCE, he went on to study at Victoria University, graduating with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) at the end of 2016.

Without the experience that employers were looking for, Kan found it very difficult to secure a job in the engineering field. He says he didn’t understand the benefits of networking at university, nor did he look for work experience opportunities whilst completing his degree.  He later realised this was a mistake.

After unsuccessfully applying for over 50 roles, Kan began working casually and volunteering as an interpreter.  He also volunteered part-time with Brimbank City Council, working with young children within the Chin community.

While searching for roles online, he came across the John Holland Pathway Program and decided to apply.  Accepted into the program and not really believing his luck, Kan began working on the early stages of the Metro Tunnel – Early Works in Melbourne as a Junior Engineer. Kan looked after the temporary works on the construction site which included validating all steel structures.  After five months, he joined a new team in regional Victoria to work on the Goulburn Murray Water Connections project managing and coordinating small projects and reviewing designs.

He describes his experience as “just amazing and unbelievably wonderful! It has changed my life.  I can confidently say that within my community, I am one of the very few to have attained tertiary qualifications and to have gained work in a professional role”. Kan says that “I see myself as a role model for young kids in my community who I see giving up on finishing their studies or even Year 12, as they no longer have dreams of working in professional roles and don’t believe in themselves.”

Kan appreciates that in Australian corporate culture “you’re invited to share your ideas, you feel that your ideas are valued, and if it’s a good idea, it will be implemented! There doesn’t seem to be any limitations here to what you can achieve – only those you place on yourself”. Kan feels that more needs to be done to provide workforce opportunities for skilled migrants. “I have many friends within my community who have completed all types of tertiary qualifications and they are in the same position as I was.  We need to open up more jobs across different fields to give more people like me a chance”.

For Kan, the opportunity to work on the John Holland Pathway Program is a source of tremendous pride for him and his extended family.  “My dream is coming true and my career journey is starting. I would like to encourage young people studying, in whatever field, to have hope, have dreams, and have no limits”.

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.