Anh Dam has her hands full as a Jobs Victoria Advocate at the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association, but she wouldn’t want it any other way.

Jobs Victoria Advocate Anh Dam at work at the Australian Vietnamese Women's Association

Jobs Victoria Advocate Anh Dam at work at the Australian Vietnamese Women's Association.

“Giving back to my community and helping more people find independence is so rewarding,” says Anh Dam, Jobs Victoria Advocate.

After only six months in her role at the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association (AVWA) in Braybrook, Anh has assisted more than 500 people looking for work, providing practical resources, guidance, referrals, language services and emotional support.

“It’s more than a job for me. Being a Jobs Victoria Advocate is an opportunity to change lives, to empower community members and get them on the right track.”

Forming connections and relationships with clients in need

One example of Anh’s dedication to her role is the connection she formed with 50-year-old Thao (not her real name). In their first meeting, Anh focused on getting to know Thao, her circumstances and immediate needs.

Recently divorced, Thao had previously run her own acupuncture therapy business which was forced to close during the pandemic. She lost her only source of income and her home. Thao was also recovering from a stroke. She was in a really tough place, both emotionally and financially.

“After listening to her story, I knew she needed our support. I referred her to Centrelink, Sunshine MatchWorks, a local GP and the Salvation Army — making all the necessary appointments for her as her English was limited. I then reached out before each appointment to remind her.”

A new start

After a few weeks, Thao called Anh to thank her. She was a lot happier, had started a new part-time job at Lovisa Factory in Derrimut and was about to move into a property in Braybrook. Anh then contacted the rental agent to arrange utility connection and ensure that the lease conditions were favourable.

In addition to referring jobseekers to the right services and following up to make sure that everything is progressing, Anh stays in contact with most of her clients and is always just a phone call away.

The importance of word of mouth 

“The lockdown restrictions in Victoria actually give us the chance to have deeper conversations and form stronger connections with our clients.”

“Each time I have a success story like Thao’s, I’m hopeful that it will lead to more positive word-of-mouth referrals. Ultimately, we want to make a difference in people’s lives, get better results for our jobseekers and continue providing services in our local Vietnamese community,” she added.