Creating opportunities for young people through partnerships with local businesses

May 16, 2018

“Southa is the third young person to complete a successful placement with us,” begins Alicia Coppola, National Recruitment Administrator at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

“The young people we’ve worked with have brought a fresh perspective to our organisation and we’ve enjoyed having them here.” 

Alicia Coppola Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

The prestigious Melbourne-based law firm has partnered with CMY to offer paid placement opportunities for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, to help them gain valuable experience in the Australian workforce.

Southa Mohammed is one such young person.

“I’m currently at university doing my final year at La Trobe University. I’m studying a Bachelor of Health Science and Master of Orthoptics,” she begins.

“I got the opportunity to do a paid placement with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers during my university break…it has helped me build my communication skills and my confidence.”

“I’ve experienced so many new things and have learned so much,” she shares.


Along with over 30 other young people placed into part-time or full-time employment through CMY’s employment partners this year, Southa started by being matched with a volunteer mentor. 

Mentors use their real-world experience, knowledge and skills to bring the young person up to speed with looking for and landing the first big break or their dream job.

Pathways to Employment volunteer mentor Warwick with Southa

“My mentor, Warwick, is very helpful,” says Southa. “He gave me all this material to look up, introduced me to LinkedIn and edited my resume.”

“He always contacts me and keeps me updated about job opportunities.”

Young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds have a world of experience, but some need support to translate that to the workplace. 

A job is vital for young people to become financially independent, but it also helps to provide a sense of belonging, community, and self-worth.

Southa’s plans for the future involve giving back to the community and creating opportunities for others.

“I have got so much support from community and friends since coming to Australia, I would really like to give back,” she says.

“I want to support young children who lose their parents and women who are vulnerable to exploitation. I want to run education and empowerment campaigns for them.”

She has some advice for young people who are looking for work and may be considering joining CMY’s Pathways program.

“You never know when a door could open for you. Pathways could be a door for an opportunity that leads you to your dream job,” she shares.

“It could give you new skills, it could uplift you and boost your confidence and you might potentially end up in your dream job via Pathways.”

“You will get exposure to different careers, industries and people and you might find your heart or purpose there.”

Pathways is delivered by CMY with funding from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, The William Buckland Foundation, The R E Ross Trust and The Myer Foundation.

Find out more about Pathways