Migrants get ready to join the workforce with Work Connect

Article image for Work Connect case study for Careers NZ website

Work Connect is an Auckland-based, 10-hour career coaching and employment mentoring programme run by Careers New Zealand. It helps international students, skilled migrants and their partners to prepare for the workforce, make a good impression and develop their employability skills.

"Our goal is to help talented and skilled people become work-ready for New Zealand's job market," explains Navazesh Smith, Careers New Zealand Manager of Migrant Futures.

"We coach them on how to tailor CVs to suit the roles they're applying for, and we help them prepare and present themselves for job interviews.

"We want skilled migrants to be able to use the experience and qualifications they brought to New Zealand. We're encouraging our workshop participants to look beyond job advertisements in newspapers or online and become comfortable with networking at conferences or approaching businesses directly."

Success Stories

Fahad’s flexibility and preparation land him a role

Fahad Zubair, a qualified engineer with an MBA in Marketing, arrived in Auckland this year from Karachi, Pakistan. He faced the same employment barriers as many migrants – he lacked local job experience and he was considered over-qualified for roles.

Fahad found Work Connect's advice about designing his CV and cover letter, along with the preparation tips for interviews and one-on-one career coaching, particularly helpful in preparing himself for the New Zealand job market.

He is now working for Allied Faxi New Zealand Food Co. Ltd in a quality assurance role.

"Fahad took what he learned in Work Connect and successfully applied it to his job search," says Navazesh.

"He recognised the importance of being flexible, he was willing to travel a long distance to reach his new workplace, and he is now gaining some well-deserved New Zealand work experience.

"Fahad sees this as the first important step in forging his career in New Zealand."

Fahad advises New Zealand employers to think of new migrants as assets, not as an expense. Employers can make the most of new migrants by introducing them to the philosophies and values of their companies and by making an effort to find about what their work experiences were in their home countries.

Kshitij’s newfound confidence leads to employment

Kshitij Holay, a design and manufacturing engineer, is another Work Connect success story. Kshitij arrived in Auckland from Pune in India in 2015 as an international student.

Kshitij needed to adapt to Kiwi culture, something he found challenging at first. He found the most useful parts of the Work Connect programme to be taking part in a mock interview and the coaching in how to develop an elevator pitch – how to sell your skills to an employer in the time it takes to ride an elevator.

"Joining Work Connect brought out a positivity in me, which boosted my confidence in interviews."

Kshitij now works as a full-time design engineer and enjoys the friendly atmosphere at work. He says international students are good at learning and adapting, which is good for employers.

"Migrants bring with them unique ideas and different ways of approaching problems and technology. This can be considered as their X-factor, and can bring multi-directional problem-solving to companies. Plus Kiwis can enjoy and learn different languages, food and ideas from these students!"

Navazesh is pleased with Work Connect's record. "We are proud of how Fahad, Kshitij and others have succeeded. Work Connect is good for everyone – for migrants, for employers and for New Zealand's future prosperity."

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