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New research

Timely careers support equips migrant and refugee students

A significant proportion of funding is allocated to university access for domestic Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Migrants and/or Refugees (CALDM/R), but dedicated career guidance and supports could be better resourced, new Deakin University research has found.

The research, led by Professor Alex Newman and funded by the NCSEHE, has informed recommendations to increase funding and resources dedicated to supporting CALDM/R students in their transition out of university.

“The lack of institutional resources and awareness of the bespoke needs of CALDM/R students can constrain the ability of careers practitioners and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) staff to identify and engage with CALDM/R students,” Professor Newman said.

“Federal and state governments should consider providing universities with funding to offer targeted career guidance for these students, including accessing internships and WIL opportunities.”

A survey, interviews with career practitioners, and focus groups with CALDM/R students were utilised to understand the effectiveness of career guidance in higher education. This included what worked well, what was missing, and what “best practice” career guidance would look like.

“Although most institutions offer career guidance to students, they rarely provide targeted career guidance to domestic CALDM/R students,” Professor Newman said.

“The results of this study highlight the need for accessible, culturally-sensitive career guidance and advice that can be flexibly accessed when required.”

CALDM/R students were found to face unique challenges when transitioning out of university, particularly regarding the hesitancy of employers when considering them in their recruitment processes.

The research showed students’ own perceptions of their English language proficiency and unfamiliarity with their work rights added to the challenges they faced when engaging with employers.

“Developing awareness of the culture of Australian workplaces and limited local networking opportunities can impede CALDM/R students’ access to employment opportunities and WIL placements,” Professor Newman said.

NCSEHE Director, Professor Sarah O’Shea noted the value of the researchers’ recommendations in shaping future policy in higher education for equity students.

“This research is extremely important in emphasising the unique needs of CALDM/R students in their pathways into, and transitions out of, university,” Professor O’Shea said.

“In providing recommendations to policymakers, higher education institutions and students, this research presents targeted improvements to career programs for CALDM/R students.”

Read the full report, Career Guidance for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Migrants and/or Refugees.

This research was conducted under the NCSEHE Research Grants Program, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Posted 10 February 2022 Posted in Culturally and linguistically diverse, General