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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Lifeline for new migrants in Adelaide

A new community organisation is doing wonders in mentoring migrants towards professional excellence

Reading Time: 3 minutesSenthil Chidambaranathan and Rakesh Gupta became acquainted when they both arrived in Adelaide in 2014, weeks apart.
Both had long-standing professional experience in India: Senthil brought with him 20-plus years of experience in banking, and Rakesh, similar in IT sales. Yet both faced challenges in finding jobs in their field of expertise.
“We did get much advice from others, such as those in the settled community here, but no real guidance,” Senthil told Indian Link. “Take whatever jobs you can get, we were told, even cleaning jobs.”

Felicitating the guest speakers

The two men persisted however, fortunate that they could financially bide themselves till they found gainful long-term employment. In the meantime, as they supported each other as newbies in this country, a strong bond developed. Today, Senthil is manager at a Commonwealth Bank branch, and Rakesh works for Telstra.
Moved by their early experiences, and humbled that they could make it in this country of their own accord, both decided they wanted to help new migrants settle into satisfying professional lives.
All ears: Attendees at a recent IPA seminar

The platform they launched, Indian Professionals in Australia (IPA), has touched some 120 lives since its inception in 2015. The IPA lists as its mission, to identify opportunities and mentoring of Indian migrants leading to sustainable professional excellence in Australia.
It does this by organising talk shows, workshops and mentor-mentee programs; through business seminars with leading employment consultants, and through networking sessions with well-placed professionals in a range of industries.
The forum was launched with seed money coming in from the founders and others on the executive committee, and members are charged a nominal annual fee. Members are typically those that have two to five years’ residency.
Meetings are held at the city-based Multicultural Community Hall, a modern facility that has sizeable meeting rooms with LCD projectors, computers and a modern kitchen. Most meetings are free of cost. “We have guided new arrivals and students with the basics of resume writing, interview tips and personal presentation,” Senthil described.
“At a recent seminar on interviews, I invited a walk-in,” Senthil recounted. “They were a young couple, recently arrived, who I ran into on the street. She was in the IT industry. At our session she made some friends, and a few days later, someone alerted her to a suitable job advertisement. She called to say she had secured an interview, and could I give her some tips. I figured she was quite strong technically, and gave her advice on presentation and communication. Imagine my pleasure when she called again, this time to say she had got the job!”
IPA is now also reaching out to long-time settlers as they look to upskill or move into self-employment, as well as those transitioning into retirement. As well, they no longer restrict themselves to Indians alone.
The topics for discussion have also diversified to include issues such as workplace communication, and building healthy relationships with colleagues; even how to buy a home, how to apply for a home loan, and how to buy a car/used car.
In an upcoming event on 27 Oct, IPA will be looking at jobs of the future, based on the McKinsey report of 2017 entitled ‘Workforce transitions in a time of automation.’
A service such as IPA was clearly lacking in the Indian community, even though Indian associations abound in this city, like in every other Australian city.
“Of course we respect what the other community associations do,” Senthil said graciously. “But their stated purpose is different – it is usually social or cultural, and that is commendable in itself, such as bringing people of different religious or linguistic persuasions together, or a love of music or dance. But ours is by and large offering advice and guidance on professional development.”
He added, “We have a strong constitution, which clearly defines what we can or cannot do. Also, we have a strong ethical base: we take no sponsorships, except for our very large events. Another aspect unique to us is there is no command-and-line structure. Members who come up with projects, will see them through to execution.”
It is evident that IPA is motivated totally by philanthropy.
Organisations such as IPA are gradually coming up within the Indian diaspora globally as more and more aspirational Indians move outside the country. One such has opened up in Melbourne last year (Indian Professionals in Victoria).
“After Victoria, we are keen to expand into NSW and WA – interested people may contact us if they wish,” Rakesh told Indian Link.
Check out the website www.indianpro.org.au for more details. Contact IPA President Rakesh Gupta on info@indianpro.org.au 

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Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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