Victoria Dias knows the value of employment – not only in terms of the financial benefits but the social and mental health benefits as well.
That’s why she runs information sessions as part of her role as a Department of Human Services Multicultural Services Officer (MSO) to guide people through the employment system.
“I try to provide information sessions to different segments of the community,” Victoria said.
“As part of my sessions, I explain what they can expect from life in Australia but also step them through some pathways to education and employment opportunities for both themselves and their children.
“We’re just here to help them achieve what they need.”
As one of 70 MSOs working in the department, Victoria knows she needs to be flexible and adaptable to be able to help people from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
“You have to be a good listener, not just hearing what people tell you, but really listening and letting it sink in,” Victoria said.
One situation that really touched Victoria’s heart involved a mother of five children who didn’t have a residency visa and was fleeing domestic violence.
“I was concerned for her safety and the welfare of her children,” she said.
“I helped her access the payments she was entitled to as well as getting her connected with support services.
“This included referring her to suitable accommodation.”
A few months later, Victoria was walking in a market with her husband when she received a pleasant surprise.
“The lady I helped appeared from nowhere and gave me the biggest hug,” she said.
“I had tears in my eyes when she told me she finally felt safe and settled.”
Victoria finds it very moving to work with people who don’t give up, even in the most challenging situations imaginable.
“I’m so inspired by other people and seeing what they’ve gone through,” she said.
“It’s really great to know you’ve played a small part in helping them move forward with their lives and find happiness.”