P&G Purpose: Empowering Refugees & Migrants into Employment

July 27, 2021

Jessie Wang, Communiteer

empowering refugees & migrants into employment

P&G Purpose is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to place underserved individuals in employment. While providing the necessary support required to fulfill their career potentials. They focus on some of the most overlooked members of Australian society – refugees and asylum seekers.

We’re proud to have P&G Purpose onboard our Pathway to Employment campaign. And as part of our campaign, we are highlighting some of these social good stories and how they are widening the pathway to employment.

We chat with Doug Abdiel and Arpan Singh from P&G Purpose today. We talked about what P&G Purpose is and how they work with their partners and volunteers.

Tell us about P&G Purpose.

We are a relatively young, only about four-years-old, non-profit and social enterprise that looks after some of the most overlooked people in Australia. And the folks that we feel are most overlooked are our refugees and asylum seekers. We do our best to try and integrate them into society. This is a migrant country where, unless you’re one of the few people who’s fortunate enough to be Aboriginal, everybody had to come here and get started somewhere. We think it’s really important to give people a first hold onto the hiring ladder. Get them some job skills and get started.

Doug with a new team member and new Australian!
Doug with a new team member and new Australian!

P&G Purpose aims to identify and support individuals who are underserved in the Australian employment market. Why did you decide to focus on refugees and asylum seekers?

Well, look, there are truth be told a lot of underserved people in the Australian employment market. Certainly, people with disabilities, young people, people who’ve had issues in and out of the criminal justice system, are often overlooked. There’s a lot.

What we found, however, was that there were a lot of support programs already for some of those people. There were fewer for asylum seekers and refugees. And ironically, particularly from the government side, if any support was provided in one area, then it was taken away in another area, particularly for refugees and asylum seekers. So it was a gap we saw. And we are confident that in several years, the situation will change. That people’s opinions about refugees and asylum seekers will change. And they’ll grow to see them as part of an immigrant nation, just like everybody else here.

By then, maybe there’ll be another group of overlooked people that we can look after. But for today, it’s our working hypothesis that unfortunately, they’re probably the most overlooked group of people that we’ve got in Australia today.

So, how does P&G Purpose work?

We’ve got a few different things going on. Traditionally we thought we were just going to be providing training and employment services to our social enterprise and any other organisation interested in trying to hire a refugee or asylum seeker. So that would look like, “Hey, does somebody need a forklift ticket?”, “Does somebody need a basic license?” or “Does somebody need transport to and from a job for their first couple of weeks?”

So, solving some of those real practical problems that nobody’s going to write home about, but they’re meaningful. And they prevent people from getting jobs. What we have found is that there are all kinds of other areas to serve in and around here. The talent of this community has been really amazing to lean on.

How has this been impacted by COVID?

In the time of COVID, for instance, we’ve been able to help some of our newest Australians set up their own independent businesses. Sewing face masks is an example. A lot of women who are here as refugees often come over with large families. They struggle with childcare costs. They get out and work in traditional businesses, but they love the idea that they can stay home and sew face masks. 

We’ve also constructed a COVID-19 testing centre and use some of the skills that our refugees had to construct that. We’ve branched out into a lot of other areas. But our core purpose remains. How do we knock down the practical barriers to employment for refugees? That will remain.

Then in a time of COVID, that looked very different than in a normal time where people can go in and do a job interview. But through it all, I remain inspired by the stories that some of these folks have. They come and willingly say, “Hey, let’s just have a go” or “Sure. I’ll make face masks.” P&G Purpose is ready to do whatever it is we need to do to help out someone new in a country.

Out of many projects, the one in which P&G takes the most pride is the drive-thru mobile testing center set up at 95 Epping Road, 2113, Macquarie Park, NSW.
Out of many projects, the one in which P&G takes the most pride is the drive-thru mobile testing center set up at 95 Epping Road, 2113, Macquarie Park, NSW.

Why should volunteers help/support P&G Purpose’s mission and how?

P&G Purpose is a not-for-profit, which means we don’t have a lot of capacity to pay people for the things that they do.

Although we are limited on funds, we can use those funds for something concrete. So if we can get volunteers who want to give up their precious time for our organisation, it could definitely help us amplify those funds. And we can use those funds for better purposes, such as providing refugees with the cash flows that they require for training or licenses. 

Just drop us a message. Reach out to us on social media, or send us an e-mail. We’d be more than happy to connect with you. You don’t have to have a master’s degree or a PhD or a bachelor’s degree. As long as you’re happy to contribute towards the betterment of society, we’ll be more than happy to get you on board. If you are dedicated and committed to what we do. As long as you’re respectful towards us and towards society, we are really more than happy to work with you.

How can potential partners work with P&G Purpose?

What we’ve been doing at the moment is partnering with a lot of agencies who work in a similar space. That is, organisations that work with disadvantaged people, such as refugees and asylum seekers or people with disabilities.

P&G Purpose is open for partnerships with a lot of other organisations. The best thing is to reach out to us is via LinkedIn. Just shoot us an email, or our website where we have all the contact information. We’re also looking for corporate partnerships to escalate our vision to another level. It’s a cause where we require more and more people to work together.

People can also contact us on Facebook or Instagram. We’re more than happy to chat and see how we can take this to another level.

Sign up to volunteer with P&G Purpose or check out the rest of our Pathway to Employment campaign!

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