After escaping family violence with her two children during the height of the pandemic, Dixie* quickly got to work looking for a job. But the odds were stacked against her…
“It was such a scary time, I was facing so many challenges. One service told me ‘You might have to go back to your country, everything will be hard because of your visa status.’ I almost lost hope when I heard that, but I couldn’t stop. Going back would be much worse. I took a big deep breath and I pushed myself to try harder.”
“I tried every suggestion I was given. If someone gave me a number, I didn’t wait, I called them. But it was hard to find the support I needed. I remembered how my case manager at inTouch had helped me in the beginning. I called and asked if she could help me get a job, anything that would allow me to survive by myself – that’s when I found inSpire.”
“When I spoke to the lady from inSpire she sounded amazing, she was so friendly and I felt comfortable talking to her, she talked me through how inSpire worked and the ways they could help. It was such a good feeling.”
Dixie was referred to inSpire’s pilot employment skills program – an eight-week course designed specifically for migrant and refugee women and delivered alongside our community partners
. Here she learned how to search for work, to tailor her applications, and practiced interview skills while learning about work culture in Australia.
“Before this, I never realised how different a resume could be in each country, I’d never even heard of a cover letter! I remember thinking this is 100% different. It’s 360-degree difference to where I’m from! No wonder when I tried to get a job it doesn’t work.”
“When I found out I had an interview for my first job, I was so freaked out because I never had an interview before in this country. In my country, everyone knows me and I can speak my own language so this was completely new. Being able to do a mock interview before the real one was a really, really big help.”
“I can’t even tell you what it felt like when I found out I had the job. It’s like you are living in a dark room without light and you’ve almost lost hope, but then a light appears and even though it is really small it feels like everything will be alright.”
For Dixie, landing her first Australian job in November last year represented so much more than just a pay check. It was a critical step towards creating the future she dreams of, and a marker of how far she has come.
“How successful you are has to come from yourself as well. For me it’s very important to put in 100% and work together with the person who is willing to help you – but if you have no tools, how can you build a house? It’s not possible! Because of the tools given to me in this program, I could take the opportunity. inSpire gave me a hammer, you gave me a nail, and I built the house.”
“I’ve been working since I was 19, but I had to start again here – study here, get a first job here so I am able to put myself out there in the market. If I had not been in this program I don’t know if I would be able to be who I am right now. I wouldn’t have any experience here because I wouldn’t know how to do these things or where to learn them.”
“To other women who have faced family violence, my message is to not give up. Even when people say that you can’t, you have to believe that you can. Especially if you are new in this country, it’s really really hard, but if one thing doesn’t work, go to another one, if that doesn’t work, go to the next one, eventually you will find something that works, someone that can help you.”