Through WSCF’s work with community service organisations, interagencies and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) workers a number of issues were identified in relation to skill development of CALD workers in the sector. These included:
Workers are often employed for their bi-lingual, bi-cultural skills, experience, or for having worked with refugees overseas and often have limited experience in community services work.
There is a high proportion of part-time work and/or short-term projects and therefore staff may have limited time for skill development outside of work hours.
CALD workers face challenges in keeping a balance between professional and personal/ community life.
CALD workers are often the only link an organisation may have with a particular CALD community.
CALD workers are often the ‘go to’ person for advice and support in a number of complex issues – high risk of burn out.
In response to these concerns, Western Sydney Community Forum began exploring the feasibility of developing a pilot mentoring program as a professional development strategy for CALD workers in the community services sector.