Woman working on her computer

Names and images have been changed to protect privacy

Behnaz is a qualified engineer but hadn’t secured a role in the industry since her previous academic role in 2015. Originally from Iran, Behnaz came to Australia seeking asylum and has struggled to feel accepted in society.

Behnaz’s JVES mentor, Gillian, says, “there seemed to be a real cultural resistance to integrating her into society, and there was clearly some prejudice too”.

Every job setback further eroded Behnaz’s confidence. Gillian explained that “she needed mentoring to find a sense of connection, trust and understanding of her aspirations and challenges”.

Over several months, Behnaz was coached and mentored to apply for a wide variety of roles. Once trust was established, she began to open up to other job opportunities – jobs that would make strategic sense in helping her move towards roles related to engineering. Behnaz was initially placed into a manufacturing production worker role, and then transitioned into a more general business support function. As she became known and trusted within the team, she was able to use her systematic engineering knowledge in ways that improved business and manufacturing processes.

Behnaz has become an integral part of the organisation, using her analytical mind to understand the systemic relationships of different parts of the organisation. She helped troubleshoot issues with operational processes and machinery, making them more accurate and efficient. As a result, Behnaz’s self-esteem has grown and she is returning to the happy, confident person she once was.

“She is using her engineering mind to make changes in the organisation that optimise output and efficiency and productivity, which is precisely what engineers are trained to do,” Gillian says.

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