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New SisterWorks & Sofitel partnership boosts employment for migrant and refugee women

Published by Lauren Zammit on

New SisterWorks & Sofitel partnership boosts employment for migrant and refugee women

For Roul, a migrant woman from Malaysia and single mum of six, finding a secure job in Australia has been a real challenge. 

I was not working for almost a year and feeling really down to keep looking for full time jobs,” she says.

Despite a successful career prior to having children, she struggled to find an employer who would give her a fair chance.

Raol’s job-search turned a corner when SisterWorks helped her attend a career fair at one of Melbourne’s most luxurious hotels: The Sofitel on Collins.

Through this opportunity, Roul and 19 other women from refugee and migrant backgrounds were assisted by SisterWorks to connect and interview with hiring managers from 10 ACCOR group hotel brands, including The Sofitel, Hotel Chadstone, Pullman and Qantas.

The process resulted in 8 women being offered jobs with a variety of local businesses and hotels, with Roul getting a job on the spot.

After meeting and interviewing with Sofitel’s HR Director, Roul was offered a job as Backstage Captain in the Sofitel’s Talent and Culture Department. Within a week, she was already on the books, earning an income, and independently supporting her family.

“I want to say thank you very much for supporting me to be confident and go to the interviews at the Sofitel. I do not have words to say how happy I am,” she says. 

Pictured: Roul (right) with her new colleagues at the Sofitel.

Partnering for change

SisterWorks and the Sofitel on Collins formalised a mutually-beneficial partnership in February to boost employment opportunities for migrant and refugee women.

“The Sofitel and SisterWorks partnership has enabled the economic participation of migrant and refugee women in the hospitality industry. Having supportive employment partners, like Sofitel, ensures a pathway for our graduating Sisters into employment,” says SisterWorks’ CEO, Ifrin Fittock.

“A fruitful partnership is about organisations working together for bigger impact.”

In addition to providing financial security, this partnership will also help migrant and refugee women build their skills and confidence.

“Here at the Sofitel on Collins, we are committed to our staff’s professional and personal development,” says Hotel Manager, Matt Andraws.

“We aim to provide our employees with opportunities to build their skills and foster a strong sense of confidence on the job. For staff from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, we understand that these opportunities can be particularly transformative.”

The partnership also entails a tour of the Sofitel premises being added to future hospitality training programs delivered by SisterWorks.

This experience will give women in the program an invaluable glimpse into the inner workings of a luxury hotel – and hopefully for some, a good look at their future employer.

The Sofitel now directly requests job candidates from SisterWorks, and recently the hotel asked SisterWorks to help fill 10 positions in room-attendant and house-keeping roles.

SisterWorks looks forward to building on this partnership and seeing what doors it will open for other refugee and migrant women living in Victoria. 


Are you an employer in hospitality or another industry who is interested in partnering with SisterWorks? Reach out to michelle@sisterworks.org.au

Know a refugee or migrant woman who would like to build her skills or get help finding work in Australia? Refer her to SisterWorks. Registration is completely free.

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