In the agricultural fields of Werribee, an area known as ‘the salad bowl of Victoria’, Fresh Select has been growing vegetables for over 60 years. Recently a new community of refugees from Myanmar has joined the business. These workers have quickly become highly valued, thanks to support from Jobs Victoria and west@work and the example of their team leader Paul Lausaweh.
Fresh Select and its group of farmers is today one of the largest lettuce and brassica producers in Australia, leading the way in industry innovation using sustainable farming techniques and responsible practices.
This commitment extends to community and social responsibility, which led Fresh Select to work with Jobs Victoria Partner west@work to enable local residents from refugee backgrounds to find sustainable work with the company.
west@work has been providing personalised services to Victorian employers to create long-term work opportunities for jobseekers for over 100 years, working throughout the Western regions of the state.
Paul Lausaweh is a refugee from Myanmar who was unable to exit Centrelink assistance for over 17 months due to limited work opportunities and lack of access to support for recently arrived refugees and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. For people like Lausaweh, language is the biggest barrier to finding employment, since it leads to a lack of confidence in demonstrating skills and abilities.
Paul was linked up with Jobs Victoria Partner west@work through the local Wyndham Community Centre, and was immediately assisted into long-term work as a packer with local employer Fresh Select. He was given language support and, most importantly, an opportunity to show his abilities. With secure employment, Paul is now able to work towards his goal of buying and owning his first family home.
Paul has recently been promoted to team leader at Fresh Select, and he now mentors new staff and provides language support for Myanmarese employees at the farm. His team at the farm is known as the ‘A-Team’ for their top performance. They are all west@work Jobs Victoria participants from the communities of Myanmar with stories similar to Paul’s.
Through support from Jobs Victoria and west@work support, Fresh Select has found a team of hard working and reliable employees, with strong work ethics and community engagement. Fresh Select is keen to take on more jobseekers through Jobs Victoria, as we are providing both the business and the employees ongoing support.