Investing in Social Capital and Building Human Capability
Regional Australia is increasingly challenged by labour and skills shortages in driving economic growth, and often demand from the mining industry exacerbates these issues for communities.
The Goldfields Migrant Employment Project (GMEP) is a secondary migration initiative which aims to attract Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) people from metropolitan Perth into jobs in the West Australian Goldfields. The GMEP assists migrants already living in metropolitan WA, relocate 600 kilometres east to the Goldfields area where the mining industry is dominant.
Since the commencement of the GMEP, sixty-seven (67) people, from over twenty-seven (27) different countries, have found both employment and a new home in the region. Participants have also relocated with over forty (40) other family members who access local schooling, community groups and social services.
The program has seen both economic and social benefits with participants assisting in alleviating demand for labour across many sectors including Residential Care & Social Assistance Services, Mining Support Services, Computer Systems Design & Related Services and other roles. New Goldfielders have also contributed to the social fabric of the community, with some GMEP participants being core members of the new Goldfields African Community Association.
The Goldfields Migrant Employment Project (GMEP) case study is a look at a singular program that connects migrants who are marginalized and facing barriers to employment, to a regional community crying out for people to fill vacancies and grow the region.
Blessings Masuku is currently the Migrant Employment Officer at the Goldfields Community Legal Centre, and the driving force behind the GMEP.
Facing challenges with securing employment as a new immigrant 10 years ago, motivated Blessings to want to help other community members who face social and economic barriers. While working in a local coffee shop, Blessings enrolled in Behavioural Studies with Swinburne University. Her aim was to understand the Australian culture, systems, people behaviours and the motivations behind those different behaviours. The opportunity to work with the GMEP came as a missing link between her qualification and her attribute of being a ‘people person’.
Blessings is also a committee member of the Parents Advisory Council for John Paul College and an advisor for the newly formed Goldfields African Community Association.