Given the Chance, how many more lives can your organisation change?

Given the Chance ProgramYou probably know that diversity is good. Good for your organisation (diverse workforces perform better), good for your team (more diverse workforces lead to higher client satisfaction), and good for your staff (staff in diverse workforces are more committed and less absent).

But despite all of this goodness, many organisations can be daunted by the idea of increasing their diversity, especially with tight budgets and a high workload.

Now, here’s some good news: Your journey to diversity could be made easier thanks to a program from the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) that gives organisations an opportunity to boost the cultural diversity of their workforce, all while supporting some of our community’s most vulnerable and marginalised people.

The new program – Given the Chance – which has been running for several years with the ANZ Bank but was launched officially late last year, is a fully supported employment program for refugees and asylum seekers that has already placed over 250 workers into roles in a diversity of sectors.

The Brotherhood of St Laurance’s senior manager of Workforce Solutions, Jo Tabit, said Given the Chance candidates are “work ready, highly motivated and fully supported.”

How does the program work?

As an employer taking part in the program your organisation can employ workers as either trainees or apprentices or under a Labour Hire arrangement, which gives you the opportunity to see if an employee will be a good fit in the long term.

Depending on which arrangement you chose, organisations can be provided with a relationship manager, with employers and employees also being given the opportunity to participate in the Building Bridges Cultural Awareness Training.

There can also be a field officer appointed to each worker to help them navigate their new work place as well as access to BSL’s Social Support Services for any further information or support that employers or employees might need.

Success so far

The program has already seen some great successes having placed workers in a variety of organisations including ANZ Bank, Unified Security Group and the City of Yarra, in Melbourne.

City of Yarra is one of the biggest employers of people from the program and they have been delighted with the results.

Operations Manager Karen O’Connor says:

“The program has helped the council fill vacancies within its ageing workforce… The people we have kept have a great work ethic … we have consistently had two trainees and we also run a separate program where the Brotherhood provides us with people for manual labour during the autumn-leaf period.”

Get involved

Unfortunately the program is currently only operating for organisations based in Melbourne. If you’re in Melbourne and interested in diversifying your workplace and at the same time giving some of Australia’s most vulnerable workers and opportunity to be part of the community, contact BSL directly on (03) 9288 9900 or by emailing gtc(at)


Will you make an enquiry and kick-start your organisation’s cultural diversity in 2015?

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