Link June 2018 Volume 27 Issue 3 - Page 62

telstra “It’s been a long-standing disappointment of mine,” admits Wendy, who has recently signed agreements with the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) and Uniting Employment Services to hire sales staff from a broader range of ethnicities and abilities. In October, the program took on its first two jobseekers – Maryam and Thamer – who are undergoing intensive training in Telstra’s products and customer services. Four years after he left his last Simple joys of diversity full-time job as Head of Physiotherapy chic wearables at Telstra’s Melbourne Discovery Store. you can ask me,” Thamer said. at Baghdad University, 38-year-old Thamer says Telstra offers him the perfect career refresh. “These guys are giving me proper training, one-on-one, so soon I’ll be There’s much more to discover than street-smart phones and T Like many former refugees, he store has made a deliberate and optimism to their work supporting Maryam went through horror and push to mirror the diversity the sales and accounting staff at heartache on her year-long journey of Australia’s most liveable Telstra’s largest retail store. to Australia in 2010. Prior to joining city among its team of 70 sales and support staff. On the shop floor, you might bump into Thamer Alkhammat, an Iraqi refugee who worked as “We don’t do this for charity, we Telstra, she spent two years with BSL, do it because it’s great for both our where she studied IT and completed a customers and our people,” says formal qualification in Auslan – which Discovery Store Leader Wendy Duff. she’d been learning to communicate “I’m always surprised at how many with one of her brothers, who is deaf. a physiotherapist with the soccer of our staff come up to me and say: team that defeated Australia in the ‘I have a brother or a sister with a customers, Maryam is bringing her 2007 Asian Cup. Or Maryam Seyam, disability, and I love what we’re trying unique skillset in-store – including a a Tajik lady whose family fled from to do’.” new language to add to the 19 already Afghanistan when the Taliban took a 62 able to answer any technology question Wendy said Telstra has long Now to the benefit of Telstra on offer. dislike to her father’s girls’ college. promoted mentoring and engagement Or the latest of 14 asylum seekers opportunities for Indigenous people from diverse backgrounds who have found their first Australian employees, as well as being the largest and abilities at Telstra as a singular jobs at a unique pop-up café run in corporate provider of the Australian strength – a sign that you will never be partnership with the Wise Foundation. Maryam sees the presence of Network on Disability’s ‘Stepping Into’ judged for who you are or where you Then there’s Brad Emin and Bella internship program. However, this has came from. Penfold (pictured above) – two gutsy not necessarily translated into greater “People are very kind here,” she said. young Melburnians with intellectual inclusion in retail shops, perhaps “It’s a place you can easily want to disability, who for the past 18 months considered a non-traditional working have brought a unique new passion environment for people with disability. telstra stay forever.”