Tent and Community Corporate highlight how Australian businesses can help unleash the talent of refugees

On October 26, the Tent Partnership for Refugees and Community Corporate co-hosted a virtual event titled “How Global Business Can Support Refugees”. The event brought together business leaders, academics, and government representatives to discuss the key role Australian businesses can play in integrating refugees into the country’s labor market. 

Carmen Garcia, CEO of Community Corporate opened the event saying: “In our experience, corporate leadership is absolutely critical to success, and our employer-led approach (to integrating refugees) has proved we can deliver results.”

Tent’s Acting Executive Director, Scarlet Cronin, echoed this sentiment saying, “Hiring refugees will change the lives of refugees so they can provide for themselves and their families — but it will also make businesses stronger… With more than 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, there is a huge need — but also an important opportunity– for the Australian business community to show their leadership.”

In a keynote address, Honorable Alex Hawke MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs, emphasized the Australian government’s support for programs which help welcome and integrate refugees in Australia, noting the positive experience of Australian businesses that have hired refugees in their workforces. 

The event also included remarks from Andreas Wolter, Associate Director for Global Partnerships at Tent; Bettina Szkudlarek, Associate Professor at University of Sydney Business School; Alison Larkins, Commonwealth Coordinator-General for Migrant Services; and Harriet Pope, Project Leader of Skills for Employment, Stand for Refugees at IKEA. 

“As a business, we’ve unearthed a new talent pool of highly motivated, adaptable, and loyal people,” Ms. Pope said, noting that IKEA has already hired 70 refugees from 19 different cultural backgrounds across its 10 stores in Australia. The IKEA Skills for Employment Program will reach 180 refugees and asylum seekers with paid-work placements over the next three years.

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