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This Refugee Week we caught up with Zaid Yousuf, a bright participant from the GROW and GEN8 Training for the Future programs who now works at LXRA as a Project Accounting Officer. Originally from Iraq, Zaid moved to Australia as a refugee with his parents in December 2016, aged 34.

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and Banking Science behind him, and a wealth of experience working at the Bank of Baghdad and for the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Baghdad, Zaid’s first taste of LXRA came in November 2017 through a Career Seekers referral to the five-day GROW program (Gain Real Opportunities in the Workforce). Zaid’s participation in the GROW program ultimately led him to the GEN8 program, which offers up to eight internships a year for mid-career professionals with refugee and/or asylum seeker backgrounds.

“The GEN8 program gave me the most important thing when I came to Australia – a doorway that opened to my first position working in an Australian workplace, and for that I feel so very lucky,” Zaid said.

Along with GEN44 (a graduation internship program), GEN8 and GROW are part of the State Government’s Training for the Future skills and industry capability development initiative for rail and infrastructure. They offer people from marginalised backgrounds, including refugees and asylum seekers, the skills and qualifications they need to gain employment in the Victorian rail industry.

“The GROW program was very useful and I learnt a lot – I attended workshops, went on site visits, completed safety training and learnt new skills to help me communicate and grow my career in Australia,” Zaid said.

After completing the programs, Zaid worked as a Commercial Intern with the Mernda team in February this year for two months, before completing his internship with the LXRA Finance team.

Zaid’s skills gained working in the financial sector in Iraq caught the attention of his colleagues in the Finance team, where he has worked as a Project Accounting Officer since May.

“I am so lucky to have been given the opportunities through the programs because I know there are a lot of people like me who want to start their career in Australia, but often don’t know the right way to do that,” Zaid said.

“The professionalism, flexibility and support, as well as the relationships I’ve been able to build at LXRA from my very first day right up until now makes me very proud to be part of the LXRA team.”

About the programs

The GEN 8, GEN 44 and GROW programs were established in late 2017.  In this short time, a third of GROW participants and 62% of GEN44 interns have come from refugee and/or asylum seeker backgrounds.  In its first 10 months, 15 interns completed the GEN8 program and 23 GROW participants have secured employment.

Career Seekers is a non-profit organisation supporting Australia’s humanitarian entrants into professional careers.

About Refugee Week

Refugee Week was founded by Austcare in 1986, with the Refugee Council of Australia coming on board as co-organiser in 1987. Refugee Week (Sunday 17 June to Saturday 23 June) is the largest annual celebration in Australia to raise awareness about refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. Read more on the Refugee Week website.

Zaid Yousef GROW program

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