IKEA Australia extends pilot refugee workforce inclusion program to offer ongoing employment opportunities
The program operates in partnership with Community Corporate and since 2021, has provided paid work
The Refugee Workforce Inclusion program is in partnership with refugee inclusion specialists Community Corporate and since its inception, has provided paid work placements to 160 refugees and asylum seekers from 23 different cultural backgrounds, speaking 40 different languages. The program is now on track to reach its goal of supporting 180 people by the end of FY23.
Carmen Garcia, CEO of Community Corporate says "It has been an honour and privilege for our certified social enterprise, Community Corporate to come on the journey with IKEA Australia in co-designing and delivering the Refugee Workforce Inclusion program and be part of the next era of their commitment to hiring refugees into the business. This is what true collaboration looks like, when values align and our aspirations and ambition delivers hope, rewards and opportunities for all!
"The level of commitment from IKEA across the entire business has been visible through the level of engagement, participation, care and consultation critical to our success to date as the lead national partner in opening doors to opportunities for refugees to join the IKEA team.
"Together, we have proven, we can do it differently with meaning and I thank each and every co-worker for playing a pivotal role in welcoming and supporting refugees build skills, confidence and find genuine belonging in the IKEA family. Our team at community Corporate are excited to continue this partnership with IKEA as we roll out the next stage of this opportunity for refugees as part of their ‘Business as Usual’.”
Though not an initial focus of the program, 80 percent of program participants to date have secured ongoing employment with IKEA Australia. This result, along with the wider mutual benefits to all involved, supported the rationale to make the Refugee Workforce Inclusion program a permanent pillar of recruitment for IKEA.
Harriet Pope, Refugee Workforce Inclusion Leader with IKEA Australia, said, “We are thrilled to be evolving the Refugee Workforce Inclusion program to support refugees and people seeking asylum to secure stable and meaningful career pathways with IKEA Australia.
“The program to date has demonstrated the mutual benefits of supporting refugees to enter the Australian workforce, including increased employee engagement and pride in an inclusive culture, greater cross-cultural competence, new mentorship skills for IKEA staff and deeper cultural connections leading to a better customer experience.
“Through this values-based investment, IKEA has been able to access a new talent pool of motivated and adaptable staff members. In a tight labour market”
IKEA Australia urges other organisations to follow suit – with new research from the University of Sydney confirming half of Australian businesses want to hire refugees, yet most don't.
Harriet adds, “We believe employers have an important role to play in actively welcoming refugees and asylum seekers – and by seeing their talent and potential, strong mutual benefits can be realised for the individual, businesses, and communities.”
“We want to change the narrative about how society views people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds by challenging perceptions and seeing people for who they are and the value they bring, not their stereotypes.”
“By sharing our experience with other businesses, we hope to spur action from the corporate sector and advance opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.”
Visit Community Corporate here: www.communitycorporate.com.au
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