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Diving into the deep end of the networking pool

Maddy Ware and John King

21 Mar 2023

Game Changers: Linking Participants with Professionals

Networking continues to be a core part of the employment experience.

Young people from Multicultural backgrounds who have been successful in gaining sustainable employment note the importance of strong professional and peer networks (Meet Me in the Middle Report, Victorian Multicultural Commission p. 21, 2020). However, gaining access to strong professional networks can be difficult for young people from diverse backgrounds.

The objective of The Huddle’s Game Changers program is to bridge the gap between young people and employers. Through partnerships and collaboration with other like-minded organisations, young people who engage with The Huddle can network with operations and groups that want to see them develop and thrive in their career journey.

Arsema is a 17-year-old female from Tarneit. Arsema and was referred by partnering organisation, Ubuntu Project, to Game Changers, and has since taken part in The Huddle’s Study Squad and True North programs. Arsema attended Game Changers workshops during the September school holidays in 2022.

The workshops were comprised of employability skill development, community project ideation and professional networking opportunities. In a recent interview with The Huddle, Arsema advised that a highlight of Game Changers was learning about different industries and the skills required to be a successful candidate and employee.

On the first day of workshops, a representative from the YMCA was present and discussed the professional and community benefits of becoming a swim teacher. The discussion between the YMCA representative and the participants was informal but effective. The comfortable nature in which Game Changers presented industry professionals gave Arsema the confidence to approach the YMCA representative and inquire further about becominga swim teacher.

Not long after the connection was made, Arsema took the steps needed to become a qualified swim teacher and has begun working for the YMCA at Carlton Baths.

By prioritising networking as a core component of the program, Game Changers provides young people from multicultural backgrounds the opportunity to safely network with industry professionals in a way that is not intimidating or overbearing.

In the employment landscape, the old saying of, ‘it is not what you know but who you know’ still rings true. By providing avenues for young people to link into and build their own professional networks, Game Changers is supporting participants to become more confident and, importantly, independent, when moving through and, eventually out of the program.

Arsema has now been working as a swim teacher for several months and advised that her new role has “…allowed me to become more financially independent…”

Through a combination of formal presentations and informal networking components, Game Changers will provide participants with a chance to connect with industry leaders and professionals. This affords young people with opportunities to not only grow their knowledge and networks, but also build their own confidence, as they meet new people who can provide advice and support along their career journey.  

Arsema plans to continue helping people in the future and advised that “…After high school, I’m hoping to continue swim teaching at Carlton Baths throughout university, and slowly make my way into either social work or healthcare.”

Are you interested in taking part in Game Changers this school holidays? Please click here to sign up.

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