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$30,000 to connect refugees to Toowoomba businesses

A TOOWOOMBA project connecting businesses with skilled migrants and refugees has received a $30,000 funding boost from the State Government.

Run by the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Catholic Care Social Services and other partners in the social sector, the Business Skills Connect program is designed to showcase the skills that migrants and refugees are bringing to the Toowoomba community, linking them to chamber businesses that have roles to fill.

Chamber CEO Jo Sheppard said one of the challenges for local businesses was attracting and retaining skilled staff.

"We're wanting to do a deep dive into what skills migrants and refugees are bringing to the community and connect them to business members who do have roles that they are trying to fill," she said.

"When I talk to a lot of the partners, particularly at Catholic Care, there are groups of people who are work-ready now and they might have skills in administration, the hospitality sector, a whole range of skills that could be applicable to many businesses locally."

Ms Sheppard said the state government grant would help the chamber "get additional legs on the ground to talk to businesses and providers in the refugee and migrant space to make the connection".

"I think in terms of resettlement you can't place enough emphasis on the importance of the migrants and refugees finding meaningful employment," she said.

"It's such an important part of the process and something we need to focus on. Employment helps with all the other things that migrants find challenging - English, feeling connected, self-sustainability... the flow-on effects are quite significant."

The Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce's funding was one of 12 grants announced by the State Government yesterday, through the Celebrating Multicultural Queensland program.

The program is designed to help fund projects aimed at building an inclusive, harmonious and united Queensland.

Multicultural Affairs Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said it was "fantastic to see such a wide range of projects from across the state all focused on ensuring Queensland is a place of welcome and belonging".

"These projects will have a positive impact on the lives of many Queenslanders, not only the individuals they are designed to assist, but also their communities through the richness of greater diversity," he said.
 



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