Behnaz* is a qualified engineer but hadn’t secured a role in the industry since her previous role as an academic back 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.

Behnaz needed mentoring to find a sense of connection, trust and understanding of her aspirations and challenges.

Gillian, JVES mentor

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 help her move towards roles related to engineering. Behnaz started in a manufacturing production 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 company, understanding 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 making changes that optimise output, efficiency and productivity, which is precisely what engineers are trained to do,” Gillian says.

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