Relocating countries, learning a new language and dealing with bullying are just some of the challenges one MTC Australia client had to face on his way to finding employment. We spoke to him about his experience with the Transition to Work program.
Not many of us are lucky to find our passion in life so early, yet that’s exactly what happened to former MTC Australia client Shoaib Afridi, when he first gazed upon a computer at the age of nine. Computers were a rare thing in the small village in Pakistan where his family lived. Shoaib clearly remembers this first sighting as significant and life-altering, and recalls saying to himself, ‘That’s what I want to do – I want to work with computers’.
Shoaib’s father was an adventurous man who took every opportunity to travel that came his way, venturing abroad to Spain, Germany, Brazil, England, New Zealand, China and the UAE among other places. He recognised that Pakistan lacked educational facilities, job opportunities and a prosperous future for his family, and so made the decision to relocate the family to Australia when Shoaib was 12. He got his first computer at 13.
Immediately after the family’s arrival Shoaib was sent to the Holroyd Intensive English Centre to learn the language. After 12 months he could speak fluently but had issues with his strong Pakistani accent. Then it was time to start high school.
“High school was a very tough challenge for me because of my poor accent,” he says. “I was bullied a lot, and when I say a lot I mean a lot, a lot, a lot and a lot.” The bullying got so bad that eventually he stopped speaking. Upon the advice of his teachers he tried ignoring his tormentors but that only made them turn physically violent, even going so far as to break his right ankle.
It wasn’t long after that Shoaib transferred to Strathfield South High School, where the ethos is ‘Many Cultures, Common Values, One School’. There, he didn’t have any problems with the students.
The Transition to Work program
After turning 18 he received a phone call from Centrelink, which led to an appointment with the MTC Australia Auburn branch. He was enrolled in the Transition to Work program, which helps young people secure paid employment through a mix of coaching, education or training, work experience and support from community services.
Shoaib had never heard of MTC and didn’t know what to expect, but says that when he met Youth Employment Coach Katia and Youth Trainer Elias he soon got very excited about possibilities for the future.
“I have no words to explain how great and helpful Katia is, she was working hard for me since the first day I met her. She always had good news, there wasn’t a day where I saw her sad or tired,” Shoaib says. “I have no idea how to explain her, there are just too many good things!”
His experience with Elias was similarly positive. “Elias treated me like his younger brother since the day I joined MTC. He was there when I struggled with things, he was always calm and funny, he understands every young person and what they’re going through,” he recalls fondly. “We became like brothers in such a short time.”
Landing the Dream Job
Keeping Shoaib’s keen interest in computers front of mind, Katia and Elias found him a potential job opportunity at First State Super, one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds. The role was IT Team Assistant in the technology department, providing service desk support to staff. The job description was a perfect match for Shoaib’s skills. “I was very nervous before I went to the interview,” he recalls. “To prepare Katia got me to practice interviewing with her, which made me feel more comfortable.”
Shoaib aced the interview and soon received a job offer. “I was so excited that I didn’t know how to react. I quickly called my parents and told them I’d gotten the dream job I wanted,” he says. “My parents were thrilled because they always wanted to me to have a corporate job.”
Now part of a six-person team, Shoaib is quickly adjusting to corporate life and thriving in the environment. His colleagues have been helpful and personable, and he’s also been on the receiving end of multiple compliments about the quality of his work.
Intent on excelling at First State Super he’s focused on further professional development, spending his free time researching various aspects of the new role, as well as studying software development.
Yet his relationship with MTC has not ended here. “Elias still contacts me every week or so to ask if I’m doing well, if my family is good, if the job is good… I’ve got so much more about these two people to say!”
Need Help Finding a Job?
Through the Transition to Work program, MTC Australia provides intensive and practical support to young people aged 15–21 who need help finding a job.
The program is free for eligible participants, and involves 25 hours of support per week which you can complete at your own pace. These hours are usually a mix of coaching, education or training, work experience and support from community services, depending on your personal needs and interests.
You’ll work one-on-one with your dedicated coach and attend group sessions when you feel ready. Outside of this, we’ll stay in close contact with you via email, phone, text message and social media. You will be well supported throughout the entire process.