It has only been a matter of months since Koki Mukai swapped the bright lights of Tokyo for star-gazing on the Sunshine Coast, but he has already found a job thanks to the insights he has gained from the Migrant Work Ready Program.
Mr Mukai, 34, is one of 19 people who today (November 8) graduated from the innovative program which aims to equip new migrants with local knowledge, connections and skills to help then gain employment.
An engineer, Mr Mukai and his wife, Kana, moved to the Sunshine Coast for the laidback and relaxed lifestyle to raise their three-week old son.
Marketing his skills to potential employers was a key challenge.
Mr Mukai said the connections formed through the program helped him secure his new role with Mooloolaba company, Samana Blue Engineering.
“The most valuable aspect of the program is all the support from the people behind the organisations who run it,” Mr Mukai said.
“These people have offered me a lot of support – they’ve proofread my resume, taught me how to improve my interview skills and helped me overcome my weaknesses.
“The course was comprehensive and well organised – it covered things like mindset, public speaking, goal setting, how to write a resume and how to use LinkedIn.
Sunshine Coast Council delivered the eight-week program in partnership with Maroochy Chamber of Commerce, Solbar, TAFE Queensland, Volunteering Sunshine Coast and the Department of Human Services.
In addition to practical skills, the program gives participants an insight into Australian work and everyday culture – something Mr Mukai quickly realised is vastly different from Japan.
In Tokyo, Mr Mukai and his wife lived in a city apartment, owned by his company.
“All 10 storeys were occupied by fellow company employees, it was a bit of a stressful environment because even on weekends you would bump into someone from work,’’ he said.
Now the Mukais live a 10-minute stroll from Peregian Beach and Mr Mukai’s favourite pastime is marvelling at a starry skyline for the first time.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said he was privileged to present the 19 participants with their graduation certificates.
“It takes great courage to relocate overseas, get established in a new community and at the same time, find that all-important job,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“All of our graduates from the Migrant Work Ready Program are highly motivated to succeed in their chosen fields and I know they have much to contribute to our Sunshine Coast community.
“One of the five outcomes from our Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041 – which will be considered by council next week – is strengthening connection, inclusion and opportunity for all people in our community and this program is an example of this in action.”
“Programs like this help strengthen social and economic opportunities and truly align with our vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.”
Mayor Jamieson said the benefits of an inclusive community were highlighted in an August 2019 Deloitte Access Economics report, which sought to quantify the economic dividend from raising the level of social inclusion in Australia, with a focus on cultural diversity.
“The report estimated the economic dividend to Australia having a more inclusive society to be $12.7 billion annually,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“It found increased diversity in the workplace is likely to lead to a raft of benefits including increased workplace productivity, improved employment outcomes, improved mental and physical health, reduced cost of social services and inclusive growth.
“Inclusion means the benefits of economic growth can be shared more evenly across all Australian communities,” he said.
Community Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said it was exciting to see people with such a broad range of professional backgrounds – including teaching, architecture, engineering, hospitality and marketing – graduate from the program.
“Of course, as well as bringing their professional skills, our graduates and their families will help create a richer and more vibrant Sunshine Coast, as they share their cultures through language, the arts, sport, food and so much more,” Cr McKay said.