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‘Life-changing program’ puts refugees, asylum seekers on right track

“It had been a risk for the companies to hire us because they don’t know what we bring to the table.”

A new cadetship program designed to bridge the gap asylum seekers and refugees face in matching their international engineering qualifications has kicked off through the Level Crossing Removal Project.

Mr Roble is among 30 refugee and asylum seeker engineers who will be working on transport infrastructure and construction projects over the next 18 months, while receiving training, mentoring and a Graduate Certificate in Infrastructure Engineering qualification.

Last month, Mr Roble started at the Australian Rail Track Corporation as a project engineer.

“This is a life-changing program,” he says. “We have all the necessary qualifications, but we can’t find a job. The program made it possible for us, so we thank them.

“We’ll try our best to repay them back by working very hard and hitting the ground to prove that they were right, and we deserve this spot and opportunity.”

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said the cadetship program was about preparing a workforce to deliver the government’s signature agenda.

“We’re so pleased to be able to support 30 cadets through this program, bringing many years of valuable engineering experience from their home countries to our major infrastructure projects in Victoria,” Ms Allan said.

“From level crossing removals, to Metro Tunnel and North East Link, we’re getting things done across the state and we need more skilled engineers to deliver this crucial pipeline of work.”

Iranian refugee Donya has started as a project engineer at the Level Crossing Removal Project, while Somali refugee Abdinasir Hasi Nur has begun work as a project officer for V/Line.

“I’ve got the idea now and I’m confident that I can do my best and help. I hope to open the way for other refugees,” Donya said.

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