'Buddy system' helps migrants find their feet
By BECK ELEVEN - The Press
Last updated 05:00 20/04/2010

Myron Rodrigues was out of work and "all over the place" before he found a "buddy".

His buddy, working under a mentoring system to help skilled refugee and migrant workers find employment, helped secure the Indian immigrant a job.

Canterbury Business Association mentoring programme co-ordinator Taz Mukorombindo launched the scheme last week alongside South Island Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley and MP Nicky Wagner.

"Essentially it's a buddy system," Mukorombindo said.

"For many migrant job seekers, the isolation and lack of a network is a major barrier to getting a job.

"People don't know where to go or who to talk to but we plan to alleviate that."

He said many migrants and refugees were skilled and ready to work but needed support to build confidence, find out how to have their qualifications recognised in New Zealand and learn what Kiwi employers were looking for.

"The perception is slowly changing. Employers are increasingly recognising the value in a cross-cultural workplace.

"Migrants often have a fantastic work ethic because they have come here to work and they're hungry."

Rodrigues, 29, moved to New Zealand from India four years ago. He studied electronics and graduated with a job in Christchurch.

However, the economic downturn saw his full-time employment drop to a casual position.

"I started examining where I was going and what I wanted to do," he said.

Mukorombindo introduced him to Keith Glendon from IBM.

"He opened my eyes to the bigger picture. It was someone with industry experience who gave practical advice, helped me shape my CV."

In January, Rodrigues got a job as a technical writer with Aucom Electronics.

From here.