Innovative partnership creates new opportunities for refugees

Innovative partnership creates new opportunities for refugees

9 March 2016

An innovative partnership between Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI) will deliver new career opportunities and support for refugees and migrants who have settled in Australia.

Today’s joint announcement by Allianz Australia Managing Director Niran Peiris and SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis coincides with the first week on the job for five recruits under the partnership employment program. The partnership aims to improve employment and educational opportunities for SSI clients as well as enhancing workforce diversity at Allianz.

Over the next two years Allianz will offer permanent placements for up to 10 SSI clients per year, with SSI identifying potential recruits and providing ongoing support. The first group of new employees includes three women and two men from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Vietnam, who came to Australia as refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Their qualifications are in the areas of accounting, business management, community services, legal, and banking and insurance.

The scheme is designed to mirror the first year of Allianz’s successful graduate program and will include two job rotations in the company within the 12 months that align to the employees’ background, skills and experience. After the two rotations, Allianz will work with participants to identify a suitable permanent role.

In announcing the partnership, Mr Peiris said “Allianz looks to afford opportunities to all sectors of society that have the skills to be part of our future workforce and this includes refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.

Left to right: SSI General Manager, Peter Zographakis; Sera Kebabjian; Ruby Tran; Souad Boutros; Maxeem Georges; Abdelraheem Altabaibeh; Allianz Australia Managing Director, Niran Peiris

“Allianz is proud to support diverse communities in Australia and to give an opportunity to some of those who have come to this country as a result of dislocation from their homeland,” Mr Peiris said.

Commenting on the partnership, Ms Roumeliotis said both organisations desired a long-term, sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship. “Allianz and SSI both have a vision of playing a key support role in the community in the areas of education, employment and addressing social justice issues,” she said.

“Increasing access to education and employment opportunities ultimately increases social participation, independence, and economic and personal well-being for those from a refugee background. Large corporates like Allianz have enormous potential to create jobs, open access to education and basic services, and deliver innovative solutions.

“Both research and SSI’s anecdotal experience as a humanitarian settlement organisation tell us that although the motivation to work is high among refugees who settle in Australia, this does not necessarily lead to employment. Refugees with no Australian work experience, no affordable options for the recognition of their skills and qualifications, and limited access to English language tuition face difficulties in gaining access to sustainable employment pathways.

“Approaching this problem through a win-win ‘working partnership’, we feel we are now creating new solutions,” Ms Roumeliotis added.

In a second component of the partnership, Allianz will provide educational scholarships to assist recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers to integrate successfully into their new communities. The scholarships aim to minimise the impact of structural disadvantage that refugees often experience during the early settlement phase by increasing access to education.


About SSI

SSI is a community-based, not-for-profit organisation providing a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, housing, asylum seeker assistance, foster care, disability support and employment services in NSW.


About Allianz Australia

General Insurance Company of the Year 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009*
Best General Insurance Company of the Year 2014, 2012, 2010, 2007, 2006**
Workplace Gender Equality Award 2015, 2014
Women’s Council Employer of the Year Award 2013

Allianz Australia delivers a wide range of personal, commercial and corporate insurance products and services to more than 2.5 million policyholders. Over 50% of Australia's top 200 BRW-listed companies have some form of insurance cover with the group and the group provides workers compensation services to around one-fifth of Australian employees.

*Australia & New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards
**Australian Banking and Finance Insurance Awards