Get­ting his foot in the door

AFRICAN AUS­TRALIAN IN­CLU­SION PRO­GRAM HELPS KUOL KUOL FIND A CA­REER AT NA­TIONAL AUS­TRALIA BANK

Shepparton News - - SNNEWS - By Tara Whitsed

After grad­u­at­ing from Shep­par­ton High School in 2015, then 18-yearold Kuol Kuol packed his bags and made the move to Mel­bourne to pur­sue the ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties a big city typ­i­cally of­fers.

‘‘I moved to Mel­bourne think­ing that if I worked hard I would be able to gain the ex­pe­ri­ence I needed to build my ca­reer, but I found that some­times your cul­tural back­ground and the per­cep­tion that you haven’t as­sim­i­lated well into the Aus­tralian com­mu­nity can limit cer­tain op­por­tu­ni­ties,’’ he said.

‘‘I knew I needed to gain work ex­pe­ri­ence, so I moved back to the coun­try I was born in — South Su­dan — where I quickly got a job work­ing in gov­ern­ment, but I missed my fam­ily and friends back home in Aus­tralia.’’

When Kuol moved back to Shep­par­ton he dis­cov­ered the Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank’s African Aus­tralian In­clu­sion Pro­gram.

Un­der the pro­gram, NAB part­nered with Je­suit So­cial Ser­vices to pro­vide six months of paid cor­po­rate ex­pe­ri­ence to African Aus­tralians to help them gain lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence and build a path to an on­go­ing ca­reer in the Aus­tralian busi­ness sec­tor.

NAB has been in­volved with the AAIP for close to 10 years, with more than 380 peo­ple tak­ing part in the pro­gram since it started.

Typ­i­cally in­volv­ing roles in NAB’s head of­fices in Syd­ney and Mel­bourne, late last year the pro­gram was ex­panded to in­clude roles in re­tail branches out­side the ma­jor cities.

Kuol joined the team at the NAB Shep­par­ton branch in early No­vem­ber as a cus­tomer ad­viser and has been en­joy­ing get­ting to know lo­cal cus­tomers. It is the first time the AAIP pro­gram has been run in Shep­par­ton.

‘‘I’ve re­ally en­joyed the time I spend on the f loor as concierge be­cause I get to meet peo­ple from so many dif­fer­ent cul­tures and help them when they come into the branch,’’ Kuol said.

‘‘This in­cludes mem­bers of Shep­par­ton’s African com­mu­nity, who may need a bit of ex­tra help at times.’’

NAB Shep­par­ton branch man­ager David Gille­spie said Kuol has been a wel­come ad­di­tion to the team and had al­ready re­ceived pos­i­tive feed­back from many cus­tomers.

‘‘Kuol’s friendly ap­proach has brought a re­ally pos­i­tive en­ergy to our team and he’s quickly found his feet serv­ing on the counter, which can be quite daunt­ing,’’ Mr Gille­spie said.

Kuol said he was pleased about gain­ing lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence and build­ing his pro­fes­sional net­work in Shep­par­ton.

‘‘The ex­pe­ri­ence and skills I have learned so far will stay with me as I build my ca­reer. All I needed was some­one to give me a chance so I could get my foot in the door,’’ he said.

Pic­ture: Me­gan Fisher

Ca­reer op­por­tu­nity: Kuol Kuol has taken up a po­si­tion at Shep­par­ton’s NAB branch after tak­ing part in the African Aus­tralian In­clu­sion Pro­gram.

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