Did you know 1 in 4 Australians are born overseas? We live in a vibrant multicultural county.  It is this rich, cultural diversity that is our greatest strength and is central to our national identity.

For some time now, our Diversity Training team have been delivering tailored programs to organisations and schools – most recently visiting King’s Christian College – helping education institutions and workplaces harness this diversity and develop culturally responsive and inclusive workforces.

Monica Rivas, who heads up the training, says in more recent times, the demand for these types of programs have increased.

“We live in such a diverse country, that people are seeing the value that this diversity brings and instead of denying that it’s there organisations are looking at how they can harness this diversity in a meaningful way.  Access in turn wants to ensure that the individuals and families that we support are receiving services that are culturally responsive to their needs,” says Monica.  

People who participate in the training often do not know what to expect, and are surprised by how the training can completely alter their perspectives.

“It’s the power of storytelling. The issue of refugees and asylum seekers isn’t relevant or real until you have someone with lived experience sharing their story and connecting to participants on a human level.  The training provides a safe space to ask those tough questions and to hear real answers. 

“I know it’s made an impact from the feedback we receive not just on the day but months down the track, with people sharing their stories of how they’ve now started volunteering, that they hosted a welcome dinner, that they have changed their curriculum to include refugee stories - as one teacher told me. 

“I can tell you the stats of what is going on in the world and the data does matter, but it’s getting to know the individual stories behind the data that make the most impact.”

For workplaces in particular, Diversity Training can have far reaching benefits.

“Being culturally responsive is part of lifelong learning, but by doing this training, organisations are creating more culturally inclusive teams which studies show are more highly effective, more innovative and more satisfied with their jobs compared to non-inclusive teams.”

Monica has prided herself on the interactive and engaging sessions she has been able to offer to date. In the current COVID-19 climate, Monica says she is adapting quickly and will be offering the programs online until she can get back to face-to-face training.

“We’re currently working with the team to have the training available through Zoom, we’re just finalising the training and hope to have that running very soon, so stay tuned!”

For more information you can contact the Diversity Training team via email  diversitytraining@acsl.org.au or phone 07 3412 9999.