Volunteer’s support for migrants comes full circle

3 August 2023
Community and Social Participation

Her father’s experiences as a migrant from Lebanon was the impetus for Hope Keddou to start volunteering work helping newly arrived migrants and refugees settle in Australia.

A legal assistant in the Wills department of law firm Maurice Blackburn, who is also studying law, Hope is volunteering with migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia supporting newly arrived people re-launch their professional careers in Australia.

She is a volunteer with AMES’ Skilled Professional Migrant program (SPMP) which supports newly arrived skilled migrants into jobs that fit their qualifications and experience.

“In general, I’ve always wanted to do something to give back to the community and I liked the idea of helping migrants and refugees,” Hope said.

“My dad came from Lebanon as a 19-year-old and he was supported by AMES to learn English.

“So I feel like, for me, things have come full circle. And being able to support people who are going through what my dad went through all those years ago makes me really proud.

“He had to start from scratch when he arrived. He had to learn English and he started as an apprentice. Now he runs his own painting company.

“I’m helping out with mock interviews with students and looking over resumes and CVs.

“It’s very rewarding to help other people and to see how you can have a positive impact on their lives; and it’s humbling to see how grateful they are,” she said.

Hope said volunteering has helped build her own confidence and knowledge.

“Volunteering has helped me build my confidence and leadership,” she said.

“Just having people interact with me and trust me; having them ask questions and get advice from me is rewarding and has improved my confidence. I feel confident in providing that advice.”

Hope said her own experience in being interviewed for positions had proved valuable.

“I’ve been interviewed many times myself. So, it’s nice to be able to pass on the knowledge and tips I’ve gained through those experiences,” she said.

The SPMP course introduces professional migrants to Australian workplace culture and job seeking techniques. Participants receive advice about professional interviews as well as insights into Australian workplace culture.