Names and images have been changed to protect privacy

After over 30 unsuccessful job applications and no luck with a Job Active service, Biruk* was losing hope and thought of giving up his dreams of working as an electrician.

He had arrived in Australia from Ethiopia at the age of 17, with limited English, no income, and ineligible for Centrelink payments. When living with family didn’t work out, Biruk became homeless.

Fortunately, he managed to link in with a youth refuge, was approved to move into temporary affordable housing, and started work in a warehouse. Biruk had a roof over his head and food to eat, and he was grateful, but he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for work.

After a short stint in an accounting course, Biruk realised he is the kind of person who likes to work with his hands. With encouragement from an African community mentor he completed training to work as an electrician. But a long job search eroded his self esteem.

Eventually, friends recommended connecting with Jesuit Social Services’ Jobs Victoria Employment Service Program, which assisted him with his resume, job search training, and supported him to find work at an electrical company in 2022, his “dream come true”.

Biruk tells Jesuit Social Services that he is receiving great support from his employer and coworkers. “Getting this job in the career I want has given me purpose, pride in myself and the opportunity to be a good role model for my little brothers. One day I may be able to have my own business, so that I can help others like me,” he says.

*This participant’s name has been changed for privacy.