Thuan, from Vietnam, and Paw, from Myanmar/Burma, have both been involved in MercyCare’s New Migrant and Refugee Support Services to help them settle into their new lives since relocating to Perth.
As part of this support, the two women are among the New Migrant and Refugee clients who have undertaken work placements at two of MercyCare’s Early Learning Centres in Landsdale and Ballajura.
Arriving in Australia four-and-a-half years ago, Thuan — who is married with two young children of her own aged 3 and 6 — said she has loved connecting with the children at Landsdale and now has plans to pursue a career as an early childhood educator.
Thuan said she finds joy in both playing and taking part in hands-on activities with the children during her weekly visits to the centre.
For Paw, who has been living in Australia for the past three years, volunteering her time at Landsdale has been the highlight of her week.
So much so that since doing her placement at the centre, Paw now wants to work towards becoming a qualified educator once she completes her English classes.
Alaa Al-Batati, MercyCare’s senior project officer for the SETS Innovation program which provides industry-relevant skills and training to build confidence and engage migrant women, says she has watched both Paw and Thuan grow in confidence since commencing their work placements at the Landsdale centre.
“From when she first started, I’ve seen Paw go from someone who is really shy to now having confidence and building special connections with the children,” she said.
“That’s the aim of these placements — to build confidence as well as expose women like Paw and Thuan to the childcare sector to help them decide whether or not it is the type of job they’d like to do.”
Also enjoying their time with the children at MercyCare’s Ballajura Early Learning Centre are Simret and Adiam, who are also exploring whether they would like to pursue a career in childcare.
MercyCare Employment Liaison Officer Jacqui Whelan said it was promising to see the women have positive experiences at our early learning centres.
“This project has been fantastic, as it has allowed us to leverage our internal opportunities within MercyCare to level the playing field and give service users from refugee backgrounds a chance to see how early learning works in practice,” she said.
“For so many of the women we work with, childcare feels like a natural employment option, but the reality of working in early learning is quite different from how they might imagine it.
“By working with our early learning centres, we can start people on this employment pathway with a true understanding of how the industry works and they can make an informed choice if this is the right industry for them.”
Jacqui adds that MercyCare Early Learning staff have been fully supportive of the women at their centres.
“Staff at the Landsdale and Ballajura Early Learning Centres have been so supportive in providing this opportunity to these women,” she said.
“They saw early on the benefit of working with the women and the impact it could have. We are only going to go from strength to strength as we build on the lessons learned in this pilot run with this first group.”
MercyCare Manager of Early Learning Services Lucy Pugh said it was encouraging to see the women make special connections with children at our Early Learning Centres.
“We love hearing that children at our Landsdale and Ballajura centres have warmed to the women during their placements,” she said.
“It’s also great to be able to collaborate with our Multicultural Services team on a project like this knowing that we are having a positive impact on refugees living in the local community.”