Mentoring is one of the best ways to give back to the community.

ROA’s Mentoring Program connects migrants and refugees to mentors in the cities and in regional Australia. Our aim is to support newcomers to quickly integrate into the Australian society and economy.

Mentors guide mentees as they navigate through their journey to land the right opportunity, and help them settle into their new opportunity and environment.

But what’s it like to be a mentor?

To find out first hand, we asked ROA mentor Steve about his experiences on the program, and the excitement that comes when mentees start to “make things happen”.

How long have you been a mentor with ROA?

Only a short while. Started in March 2022.

How did you discover the program?

I’d been searching and ‘putting the word out’ for some conduit where I can assist the Afghan refugees coming to Australia.
I found HOST International on the web in February, and I was delighted to see they were set on a course that matched mine exactly.

What brings you the most joy from being a mentor?

I like guiding mentees to discover all the opportunities that exist out there. I help them appreciate their own strengths.
I try to alert them to the pitfalls as well. We all encounter ups and downs when chasing a living.
My reward is seeing mentees realise the potential they have and their excitement when they start to ‘make things happen’.

Do you remember a moment with a mentee that has most inspired you?

Mentees underestimate how much they inspire Mentors! In so many ways.
For example, with my current Mentee Mr Faizan, he’s indefatigable. His resolve and raw drive is something to watch.
When he does join his dream Cyber company, he has the ability to inspire whole teams of people with his positive attitude.
One inspired moment for me? When he was desperately short of cash, he STILL insisted on treating me to a Pakistani dinner.
He’d promised me dinner in the weeks before and he was determined to keep his promise.
(The dinner was a truly delicious curry!).

Why do you think a mentor is key to the success of new migrants?

I think it’s invaluable to have some local person with whom you can ask any questions about any topic that’s bothering you.
A mentor is a confidant on many occasions. You should be able to talk about your fears and how best to navigate a way forwards.
Mentee’s are unlikely to understand Australian (business) culture and advice from Mentors is incredibly helpful.
Especially in job search. What are the normal expectations of Australian employers? What are the do’s and don’ts in the workplace?
What are the unwritten ground rules too?
Mentors offer encouragement. Mt Everest is conquered with a lot of small steps.

What is some advice you can give new migrants?

Migrants need to focus on staying happy despite all the hurdles, so keep smiling even when you’re terribly frustrated. This is not easy, but it’s vital.
Meet with as many people as you can. Say hello to your neighbours. Networking is accepted in Australia as a powerful social and business development tool.
Whatever goals you are aiming for, remember, making things happen is a ‘numbers game’, pure and simple. However hard you think you’re working, double your efforts.
If there’s one particular company you really want to join, then keep going back with new applications – your passion for their business will stand out and be rewarded.
Aim to stir up heaps of activity and often opportunity will come spinning out from a direction(s) that was totally unseen.
In most parts of the world, it’s all been done. In Australia, especially in regional areas, it’s all YET to be done.
If you are finding it impossibly hard to find a job… start your own business! In next to no time you could become an Employer!
Ask questions, ask lots and lots of questions. This applies to interviews, finding a need that you can address with your own business, even finding a suitable soulmate!

Click here to learn more about the program or to apply to become a mentor yourself.