A partnership between community organisations and a community-focused employer has given Grace an opportunity to build a home and a future in Bendigo.
Grace came to Australia from South Sudan and, along with her partner, moved to Bendigo in 2016. Wanting to volunteer so that she could get to know her community, Grace contacted Jobs Victoria Partners Access Australia Group (AAG) and Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services (LCMS).
AAG and LCMS placed Grace with Mercy Bethlehem as an activities helper, where she taught sewing to the residents. Unfortunately, three months in Grace discovered she had a brain tumour and had to take time off her volunteer duties. As soon as she got better, she was back at Mercy for a few hours a week and began looking for ongoing work. LCMS assisted Grace to enrol in the Certificate II Cleaning Operations course at Bendigo TAFE. After she graduated they helped her find work with The Bendigo Cleaning Company.
Grace now works at various sites for The Bendigo Cleaning Company, including the Bendigo Art Gallery. She is taking driving lessons and hopes to get her license soon and has been able to unite and support her family through her work.
The Bendigo Cleaning Company is an award-winning, ethical cleaning business with a strong belief in community leadership and sustainability. The company works with Jobs Victoria Partners LCMS and AAG to provide opportunities for Bendigo residents from multicultural backgrounds, supporting their workers with initiatives such as English language classes and mentorship.
LCMS is a not-for-profit organisation supporting migrants and refugees to build new lives in regional Victoria. Access Australia Group (AAG) provides opportunities for jobseekers facing disadvantage or disability. Working together, they offer support, educational and employment opportunities for people in the Bendigo region.