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Byron Shire
June 18, 2021

Ballina Region for Refugees needs help

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Refugees Welcome BRFR
BR4R needs assistance from the community. Photo Pixabay.

Can you help local community group Ballina Region for Refugees help newcomers in need of training?

For the last two and a half years, BR4R has offered financial and material support to the Brisbane Off-Shore Arrivals group. This group was originally set up for those being sent to Australia under medivac legislation. Many of those people ended up in locked hotel detention.

The group has continued to offer support into the hotels and to those who have recently been released, as well as supporting people being released from community detention on to temporary final bridging visas.

One of the Brisbane group members, Janet Wilson, has asked BR4R for support to identify training opportunities for refugees being released from detention.

Ballina Region for Refugees

Training needed

Ms Wilson has advised BR4R that the recently released men and families from locked detention and community detention are expected to work, even though they have had little opportunity to upgrade their skills or gain new ones.

Official settlement services were supposed to provide some basic training, such as the white card, but in reality access to training has been tightly controlled by ABF and immigration. As people have moved out of the three week government-offered bridging accommodation, the support of settlement services has stopped.

People are now entirely reliant on volunteer community supporters to access training that they might need.

Janet Wilson said, ‘Some of the men used their three weeks in a settlement service accommodation well and had the confidence to negotiate training opportunities that fitted with their interests and skills. However, many haven’t been able to do that and they are floundering.

‘We have had some success with barista, first aid, and life-guard training. Many men are interested in forklift training. As you are aware, many of these people arrived highly skilled, but updating skills is also needed,’ she said.

‘We are getting many requests for specific training but a number of people don’t even know what opportunities there might be for them.’

Overwhelmed

‘We are feeling overwhelmed by these requests and we are hoping that we can find someone, or a couple of people, who know the Queensland training systems and who could put some time into helping people find and access training,’ said Ms Wilson.

‘We can provide a briefing to anyone willing to assist. This assistance could be done remotely if anyone in your area had this knowledge through linking with one of our team.

‘Any ideas and contacts are welcome as we continue to try to provide reasonable support to this cohort,’ she said.

Anyone able to to help is asked to contact Ballina Region for Refugees via the web or by phone on 0450 082 781.

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