Despite there being talk about a looming shortage of engineers and the need for diversity across industry, some young professionals are still having door after door closed in their faces. That is, until now.
Construction giant John Holland has partnered with Jesuit Social Services in an “industry-first” employment program, it has revealed, to share some of the benefits of Australia’s current infrastructure boom.
The new Pathways Program is designed to give qualified engineers from migrant and refugee backgrounds the chance to get a foot in the door.
“We hear a lot about Australia having a shortage of engineers. Maybe our industry is not looking hard enough,” the company said.
“When the Pathways Program opened for applications in March, more than 450 applications were received from around the country. Almost half of the candidates taken on were from refugee backgrounds.
“We placed a diverse mix of 23 candidates across nine Victorian projects,” the company explained.
“There’s a 50% gender split among the group who represent 13 different countries and specialise in varying areas, including civil, electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering.”
The program offers a 6-month work placement at a leading infrastructure or property company; Certificate IV in WHS; pre-employment training before commencement on-site covering industry, Australian cultural and leadership training; benefit from professional mentoring; and the possibility of permanent employment on completion.
John Holland said this type of program and its duration provides the opportunity for these engineers to build up their confidence and capabilities. Executive General Manager Vic/Tas/SA and NZ Trevor Hall said the partnership shows there is “a massive untapped community of engineers in Australia” waiting to be given a chance.
“We’re in the midst of Australia’s biggest infrastructure boom and we have an opportunity to make sure as many people as possible can benefit,” he added.
“This isn’t just about doing the right thing by the community, it’s a competitive market out there and we’re looking for the best people to join our team.”
Hall said John Holland believes good engineers are already out there and they might just need some extra support to get them in the door and site-ready.
Image: Engineers Adey Tsega, Daniel Mabil and Mamode Osikoya have joined John Holland as part of the Pathways Program.