HELPING TOGETHER: Amir Hossain, MDA deputy chairman Peter Forday, MDA regional development manager Jill Armstrong and Punya Atukorale.
HELPING TOGETHER: Amir Hossain, MDA deputy chairman Peter Forday, MDA regional development manager Jill Armstrong and Punya Atukorale. Lisa Benoit Roklwalk

Finding work is top priority for refugees in Rpckhampton

JILL Armstrong joined forces with the community to show the region the cultural diversity of the Beef Capital.

Jill, the regional manager of the Multicultural Development Association (MDA), took part in the Walk Together event to help celebrate new arrivals in the Rockhampton region.

"The event is for the community to show solidarity with people from all cultures," Jill said.

"Rockhampton has become multicultural in the past few years and the community is warm and welcoming to new people."

MDA works specifically with refugees and asylum seekers who come to Rockhampton to start a new life.

Jill said while they could have difficulties with limited English and skills, new arrivals were always keen to find employment.

"We have great relationships with some employers in the region to help (new arrivals) gain employment, the meatworks is one for example," Jill said.

"The number one priority when refugees and asylum seekers come to Rockhampton is to get a job."

MDA also works to enhance the skills of new arrivals, and several people have just completed a TAFE course in horticulture, walking away with a certificate in the trade.

Jill said that meant they could now go out and seek employment in that field.

Employment is a main focus of MDA, and the organisation's goal is to find 500 jobs for refugees and asylum seekers in Queensland.

"We hope the public will see and show refugees are people willing to contribute to society and break down their fears of new arrivals," Jill said.



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