The Department of Human Services employs around 70 Multicultural Service Officers (MSOs) across Australia to connect migrant and refugee communities to essential services.
For Roger Ferguson, a Melbourne-based MSO, the role is about being flexible, from consulting one-on-one at community events, to being a broker between the department and community agencies.
We Are Multicultural Service Officers – Transcript (14KB, DOCX)
We Are Multicultural Service Officers – Transcript (204KB, PDF)
“Our role is bridging the gap between the massive organisation and the ground level stuff, the grass roots,” Roger says.
“For newly arrived migrants and refugees especially, there are lots of challenges like literacy, understanding English and coming to terms with what they’ve gone through in their lives. So it’s about overcoming those challenges with them.”
The diverse and meaningful work that Roger does as an MSO gives him great job satisfaction.
“Sometimes I’ll be helping vulnerable people through difficult situations, other times I’m doing myGov presentations for community organisations so they can educate their own community members,” he says.
“So this job is about being patient, really understanding people’s stories and connecting them to all the right people so they can build their lives here in Australia.”
Victoria Dias is an MSO based in Logan, just south of Brisbane City, and for her, cultural diversity is well and truly a way of life.
“Logan is very diverse, we have 218 registered communities and Logan speaks around 222 languages. So that is huge!” she says.
“We provide services to all these communities through the department, but we also partner up with Logan City Council to make sure our services are accessible and flexible to different groups in the community”.
As a natural problem-solver, Victoria is all about doing her research and encouraging communities to voice what they need from the department.
“To be a good Multicultural Service Officer, you have to go in and understand what an issue is before you can embark on that journey to resolve it.”
“Listen, let it all sink in, and then go about making an action plan,” says Victoria.
“Our role is for the broader community, not just for customers of the department. It’s for the whole community. And that makes my job really, really satisfying”.
Read more about our Multicultural Service Officers.