Unemployment is a 'huge' problem

Community First Step team leader of community services Baber Rasheed with Pauline Karallis, MatchWorks manager of employment services at the Employ Me
First Expo. Back row: Nansy McCarthy (Regional manager MatchWorks), Gareth White (State manager disability and employment services), John Gimore (CEO Community First Step) and Usha Rao (Executive manager for community and disability services). Picture: Simon Bennett
Community First Step team leader of community services Baber Rasheed with Pauline Karallis, MatchWorks manager of employment services at the Employ Me First Expo. Back row: Nansy McCarthy (Regional manager MatchWorks), Gareth White (State manager disability and employment services), John Gimore (CEO Community First Step) and Usha Rao (Executive manager for community and disability services). Picture: Simon Bennett

Community First Step (CFS) team leader of community services Baber Rasheed encouraged jobseekers to get out and meet employers instead of just sending a resume online.

"It shows initiative and a different approach rather than just an email. It also gets you out of your comfort zone and you can meet the employer and see what they want," he said.

"You can also showcase your skills and connect one-on-one with an employer."

Mr Rasheed was speaking at the Employ Me First Expo which was held at Fairfield RSL on Thursday. MatchWorks joined forces with Community First Step to host the free expo to boost training and job pathways for unemployed job seekers in the Fairfield region with people able to to directly engage with more than 20 employers and recruiters. Attendees were also able to attend workshops to become job ready and register for education and training courses.

Pauline Karallis, who manages employment services in Fairfield and Cabramatta for MatchWorks, said the expo was a way to create better job opportunities for people living in south-west and to create awareness that they "want to help" people find employment.

Mr Rasheed said unemployment was a "huge" problem in the area with the Fairfield unemployment rate nearly double the NSW average and one of the highest in Australia. Fairfield-based not-for-profit organisationCFS offers a range of services to assist individuals overcome disadvantage and barriers to personal, social and economic growth.

"Over the past five years the unemployment rate in Fairfield has risen because of the newly arrived refugees and migrants and the barriers not speaking English provides," he said.

"We are breaking down those barriers and trying to get people into short accredited course and entry level positions to help them adapt back into society."