Pronia is on a mission to support newly arrived young Greeks

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram It’s not easy calling a new country home, especially when you don’t speak the language.Konstantina Kouroutsidou, a Senior Settlement Services Officer and Community Educator at Pronia is all too familiar with this scenario, having worked with young people who have recently arrived from Greece.“It’s very important for all of us to understand the essential role of language, and the majority of these young people don’t have the skills and it’s a great stressor for them,” she told Neos Kosmos.“It affects their ability to participate, to navigate, to understand – not just for employment, but education as well because they are very unfamiliar with our system.”Ms Kouroutsidou says these barriers often see young people heading back to Greece once they hit 18. But this time around they find themselves without the support of their families.In a bid to support these young people, Pronia is aiming to fill this gap through various initiatives.Just last week Pronia joined a number of other service providers at the Monash Multicultural & Settlement Services Network’s CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) Youth Careers Forum held at Holmesglen TAFE Apprentice Central, with a focus on the trade industry.Over a hundred Year 10 students from CALD backgrounds were in attendance, including a number of Greek Australians and newly arrived Greeks, who are perceived to be at risk of disengaging from school.Many students, especially those from a CALD background are often unaware of the different opportunities that exist – some of which are free – and alternatives to academia.There were a number of guests speakers from diverse backgrounds who gave an overview of skilled trade careers, benefits of an apprenticeship as a post-secondary option, support services available, as well as what employers are looking for.George Bring, Neos Kosmos work experience student, interviewing TAFE students who told us of how they personally benefited from the programme.An expo was also set up where Pronia was joined by Victoria Police, the Department of Human Services, the ATO, CALD communities, Metro tunnel, Swinburne University, and Chisholm Institute.“We know if you are an immigrant in this country … at the age of 20 to 24 we have the highest rates of unemployment for households where English is the second language, and that is from the 2011 ABS,” said Ms Kouroutsidou.“Holmesglen has a great collaboration with Metricon and provide many different courses for apprenticeships. So that was the idea, to get the word out to inform people about it … to provide the right level of support to understand what systems are in place and assist young people to navigate and transition to Australia. They need support to address their needs and someone to help them to work towards their goals and I think that is the role we’re trying to play. We have identified a need, and we’re trying to do something about it.”last_img read more