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The ETC employment team with Khairullah

Middle Eastern man overcomes language barrier to secure work with support from ETC

Khairullah Zandin migrated from Iraq to Australia for a better life in 2018.

He quickly identified that not speaking English was going to make it difficult to secure work so he signed up to an Adult Migrant English program where he was assisted to learn some written and verbal English skills.

“It was hard when I first arrived,” Khairullah said.

Khairullah was referred to ETC in May 2019 and quickly made it known he wanted to secure work to be a positive role model for his family.

“He immediately engaged in all that was required of him. Through a translator he was able to inform us that he was serious about getting work and that he wanted to make his wife and young child proud and to also inspire others from non-English speaking communities,” said ETC Team Leader Danny Middleton.

“After attending migrant English classes on a regular basis, Khairullah’s understanding of English improved enough for ETC to be able to support him with our Employment Services. Initially we developed a Resume for him, with assistance from the ETC trainer and also with TIS interpreter service.”

“This enabled us to identify that Khairullah had extensive cleaning skills and had previously held a Cleaning Supervisor role at a hospital in Iraq.”


“Due to COVID-19 cleaners were in high demand so we put forward Khairullah for a job with Southern Cross Commercial Cleaning.”

The Manager of Southern Cross Commercial Cleaning Dale Ryan admits he initially had some reservations about hiring Khairullah due to the language barrier, but he was pleased to be proven wrong.

“When we first met this shy young man we thought he was going to be a bit of a challenge to be honest, but were we wrong,” Mr Ryan said.

“From the get-go, Khairullah made his skills known to his fellow workers, who love having him around. His experience in a hospital environment in Iraq sure did shine through. He stepped straight in and without being shown too much, showed us that he has an eye for detail! No task is too hard and importantly he has fitted right in at the school where he cleans.”

“We initially thought his understanding of English may be problematic, but I couldn’t be more wrong. In fact he has helped us to train other staff in understanding our necessary paperwork.”

“Khairullah really is a joy to work with and employ! He gets the job done and is proud of what he achieves. Reliable, punctual and honest, Khairullah sets the bar pretty high!”

Mr Ryan’s initial reluctance to hire Khairullah was eased by ETC’s offer to assist with induction paperwork, including a Police Check and Working with Children check, and also the offer of a Wage Subsidy to assist with Khairullah’s salary costs and the promise of ongoing support.

Khairullah has now been with Southern Cross Commercial Cleaning for four weeks and is absolutely loving his job.

“I’m very happy now,” he said.

Are you a Migrant or Refugee who needs support to secure employment?

Finding a job can be a daunting task, especially if you are in a foreign country with limited knowledge or language skills.

We can tailor the right employment path to help you find sustainable and meaningful employment.

Find out more about ETC’s services for Job Seekers here >>

Are you a business who is interested in employing a Migrant or Refugee?

Employees from a refugee or migrant background often have higher retention rates and because of their experience, often have personal qualities like resilience, adaptability and a drive to succeed.

ETC can provide ongoing support to both you and your new employee to ensure you both remain happy.

Find out more about ETC’s services for Employers here >>

Also, the Australian Employers’ Guide to Hiring Refugees is a practical toolkit intended to help employers who are interested in hiring refugees but don’t know where to start.



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