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One-of-a-kind Citizenship Readiness Program Helps Permanent Residents Gain Citizenship

Citizenship Readiness Program

Jobseekers in our Auburn, Cabramatta, Fairfield and Liverpool centres have been given a helping hand when it comes to applying for citizenship with an exclusive Citizenship Readiness Program.

Kamel Temsah, Jobfind Regional Manager, devised the program to cater to the large number of jobseekers in the area who are refugees with limited education.

“We have many refugees from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan who have limited education. Most have only attained the equivalent of Year 7 to 10, with some achieving Year 12.”

Working with this knowledge, Kamel dug deeper and found that many refugees failed the citizenship test due to a lack of understanding of the Australian citizenship test resource booklet Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond.

In May 2020, the program commenced with a considerable number of registrants. There were so many that they had to prioritise in order of upcoming testing. Every two months, the program is hosted by a professional trainer who helps each participant practice the test.

Contact hours are once a week for 4 hours. It’s available to Australian permanent residents who are over 18, have lived in Australia for four years and are on humanitarian or protection visas.

Kamel says capacity for the program was beyond expectation. Many participants had failed the test multiple times, but there is a 40% pass rate due to the program. Those that fail are further supported during the retesting period and go on to pass.

“We are the only employment centre providing this service to the community in our region. This service is rarely offered to participants at all, with many participants coming from outer suburbs to take part,” he says.

“A lot of other jobseekers, 35% in fact, have come to Jobfind from other providers as a result of the program. The word is out among the community that we care for our jobseekers.”

The staff communicated by meeting people where they are – going out into the local community using primarily word-of-mouth to promote the program. They connected with friends and family, visited shopping centres, put flyers on noticeboards and handed them out in the street.