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Our People
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It is important to support the great work done by our universities in preparing new graduates for the workplace. The Association for Culturally Appropriate Services is proud to support the @Edith Cowan University workplace integrated learning. We are particularly supportive of the focus on working in community service organisations as it provides a chance for young people to gain insight into the thrill provided by making a positive difference to the quality of life of vulnerable community members. These people are often the ones sho have given so much to the community as migrant parents and now have no one to care for them in their hour of need.

Read one intern’s views of his work experience with our workplace focused on making a positive difference to the lives of our migrant seniors. Here’s Vincent Kaporir’s views in his own works:

 

1.  What are you expected to achieve with the internship

The purpose of undertaking this internship is to reinforce the theoretical knowledge acquired during my undergraduate studies in health Management as a major. The aim of gaining practical experience in a real-world/workplace setting is to refine and develop my management skills, as well as to gain a better understanding of the expectations placed on a coordinator or administration.  


2. How did you find the internship experience at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services?

Interning at AfCAS proved to be an enriching experience for me. It was a unique opportunity to work in the culturally and linguistically diverse aged care industry and gain hands-on experience in management. I had the privilege of learning from a supervisor with extensive skills and experience in various levels of the management profession, which was a valuable experience.


3. What were your learnings from the internship

Being offered the chance to serve in a coordinator/ administrative role and gain hands-on experience in coordination and administrative role. It was a source of great delight for me. Throughout my tenure in this position, I came to realize the critical role that effective communication and negotiation play in achieving project objectives when working with partners and individuals involved in the project.

4. What were some highlights of the experience?

Being involved in various project activities gave me the chance to mingle with unfamiliar faces and establish connections with experienced personnel. The company's strength lies in its team-oriented approach, and the working atmosphere is friendly and adaptable, which helped me work efficiently and accomplish my responsibilities within the designated time frame.

5. Any other comments?

I feel immensely thankful to AfCAS, as well as my supervisor Mary Gurgone, and ECU, for giving me the opportunity to participate in this Placement. My experience with AfCAS has not only enhanced my Coordination and administrative abilities but has also greatly expanded my understanding of Aged Care and CALD organizations. Working under the guidance of Ma ry Gurgone and Anne Butorac has been a pleasure, as they have not only offered direction but also enabled me to acquire knowledge about the Aged Care Sector throughout my placement.

Jiewen Su (Intern)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jiewen’s reflections on the last day of her internship are a wonderful insight into her experience. READ ON:

Throughout my internship at AfCAS, I have gained valuable insights into the challenges and rewards of providing care to elderly individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. This experience has allowed me to witness firsthand the struggles faced by CALD elderly individuals and has deepened my understanding of website structure, social media management, and documentation. Working at AfCAS has provided me with a realistic perspective on how the organization operates in the real world.

 

One of the most significant lessons I learned during my time at AfCAS is the importance of recognizing and respecting the diverse cultural backgrounds of the residents. This recognition plays a vital role in enhancing their overall well-being and quality of life. I have come to understand that to provide better aged care services for CALD individuals, it is crucial not only to offer more services for the elderly themselves but also to provide training and support for aged care providers. Effective communication strategies for engaging with elderly individuals from different backgrounds or language groups are essential. I have observed that the committee members at AfCAS have diverse backgrounds, which allows the organization to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by CALD elderly individuals.

 

During my internship, I had the opportunity to work on updating information and maintaining the organization's website using Wix, a user-friendly website builder. This was a new experience for me as it differed from coding, but it was both enjoyable and interesting to witness my ideas come to life. Additionally, I conducted research on AfCAS's target audience and potential partners, which helped me strategize the website design and implementation to attract these stakeholders. I also studied the structure and functionality of websites belonging to similar organizations, identifying the best practices and features that could be incorporated into AfCAS's website in the future.

 

Collaboration emerged as a key takeaway from my internship at AfCAS. Working in a team environment, alongside another intern from UWA, allowed us to exchange ideas and approach website design from different perspectives. We collaborated to integrate our thoughts and create a comprehensive website that catered to the organization's needs.

 

One valuable lesson I learned during my internship at AfCAS was the significance of documentation in the context of the organization's operations. Clear and comprehensive documentation plays a crucial role in ensuring effective communication, maintaining organizational knowledge, and facilitating seamless workflows. Documentation will also help the handover to the next few interns during their winter break internship.

 

I am grateful for the support and guidance provided by my supervisor, Mary. Whenever I faced technical issues with the laptop or OneDrive system, she encouraged me to seek help from the technical people. She also organized meetings with web designers and experienced Wix users, allowing us to gain a better understanding of website design and the capabilities of the Wix platform. By asking questions during these meetings, we gained insight and explored different viewpoints. As students, our ideas and thoughts can sometimes be limited by our perspective, but by learning from experienced professionals, we were able to broaden our horizons. They generously shared their opinions, thoughts, and exemplary work, which greatly benefited our learning process.

 

In conclusion, my internship experience at AfCAS has been enlightening and rewarding. It has given me valuable insights into the challenges faced by CALD elderly individuals and has expanded my knowledge in website design and collaboration. I am grateful for the support and guidance provided by my supervisor and the opportunity to contribute to the organization's goals. This internship has not only deepened my understanding of the aged care sector but has also equipped me with practical skills and experiences that will undoubtedly shape my future endeavours in this field.

Juan Lakonawa (Intern)

Isaac Matiyenga (Intern)

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At the end of his 13 week internship at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services (AfCAS), Mary Gurgone was delighted to receive Juan’s reflections on his AfCAS experience as follows:

  1. What did you expect to achieve with the internship? 

 The expectation was simply gaining a hands-on experience with a real organization in my study field (Computer Science). Other than that, I aimed to further developing my skills, gaining more knowledge about the organization. Finally, the most important thing is making a positive impact on the lives of the people especially CALD seniors.

  2. How did you find the internship experience at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services?

Thanks to McCusker Centre for Citizenship, I was able to be offered an internship role at AfCAS as a Digital Content Intern: Website Redevelopment and Social Media.

  3. What were your learnings from the internship?

I was really excited with the opportunity to develop my technical and professional skills. I was able to apply my knowledge of technology and Business to real-world scenarios, including website development and social media strategy. These projects have been meaningful and have allowed me to work on projects aligned with my interests. Furthermore, I had been able to collaborate with my supervisor and peer intern, and the committee member in this project which had allowed me to build relationships with individuals from different backgrounds and learn from their experiences. Through these interactions, I have developed my communication and interpersonal skills and have gained a deeper understanding of cultural competence and sensitivity in providing care.

  4. What were some highlights of the experience?

I would like to give a special acknowledgment and appreciation to Mary, chair of AfCAS, as well as my internship supervisor. In her age, she is still passionate and dedicated to this issue with CALD disability and seniors. It is such an inspiring example for me to take and witness as a young volunteer. Her story has inspired me and motivated me to do more in the community and being an active citizen.

On Isaac’s last day at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services, we interviewed Isaac after we held a highly successful seminar and workshop on “Social Media for Leaders in the Multicultural Community”, presented by Dr Violetta Wilk, Lecturer & Researcher in Social Media and Digital Marketing at Edicth Cowan University (ECU).

  1. What did you expect to achieve with the internship?

I have always been interested to know how things are run in the formal business sector of Australia and one of the very few expectations I had was working with a wide group of individuals, understanding more about the tasks and skills needed in the workplace as an intern studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Management. Since I was yet to get exposure into the formal workplace, I was mostly keen to know about what I would learn rather than what I expected.

   2. How did you find the internship experience at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services?

Getting industry experience as an intern was part of my units in the beginning of the semester, I was in touch with one of the student coordinators from ECU who was extremely helpful in guiding me about the industries or businesses I am best suited for about my internship. She told me about AfCAS (@Association for Culturally Appropriate Services) and set up an interview meeting with one of the directors. It was when I met Mary and Anne that I got to know more about AfCAS. By the end of our meeting, I was keen to be an intern with them.

  3. What were your learnings from the internship?

One thing that got me keen to work at AfCAS was the complex side of things, I was not very sure of certain tasks and how they were done as I was assigned the role of an Administrative Assistant, but I accepted the challenge to learn and become more proficient at it. I learnt the importance of organisational skills about time management, efficiency in conducting tasks, asking questions when I was not sure and being more independent and assertive. I can safely say that each day I came into the office I learnt something new, and my supervisor provided valuable feedback that I will take with me in my career and my personal life.

  4. What were some highlights of the experience?

This experience for me was not just about learning a trade related to my career path but also getting better at communication and professional delivery, checking information for corrections and accuracy before use or distribution. I was happy to be involved with creating client data with the use of Microsoft excel, using a merchant banking system for the first time was also a wonderful experience personally. The working arrangement was very flexible in case I had commitments or other things to attend but I was happy to maintain my weekly attendance. I was also highly impressed to about what AfCAS was doing in the community and the amount of work that is done in the behind the scenes is truly inspiring.

  5. Any other comments?

One the most valuable lessons I took from working at AfCAS is that the spectrum of professionalism in business is much wider than many would think, and this has stuck with me since day one. I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to my supervisor @Mary Gurgone, for hosting and supporting me throughout my intern experience. I would also like to thank @Anne Butorac for the support and input she provided to me. Lastly, I would like to thank ECU Business for making this internship with AfCAS possible, I am sincerely grateful for this experience, and I shall carry all those lessons and memories with me into the future.

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Isaac Matiyenga chatting to Irene Mooney (CEO MYVISTA) and Dr Violetta Wilk (ECU)

Muhammad Bilal Marfani (Intern)

The Association for Culturally Appropriate Services is proud to have supported young people through internships since 2020. We provide ongoing support and mentoring to each intern because we believe the young people, we support will open doors into a better future.

 

So, we were delighted to welcome Bilal, who appeared keen to learn. We have enjoyed working together and achieving well with Bilal. On his last day with us we asked him a few questions and his replies follow.

 

 

1. What did you expect to achieve with the internship? 

As I considered where to apply for an internship, I contacted my university WIL department and offered with a placement at AfCAS. I learned a lot about how an Australian work environment looks like, but my majors were focused as International Business and Management, and I did not have much crossover into these areas. I’m glad to take a part in this placement as Marketing and Promotional assistant as it allows me gaining exposure to all the parts that make a small business work. That type of work environment, I believe, plays to my strengths as a flexible and cooperative individual. I'm eager to assist with any task.

 

2. How did you find the internship experience at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services?

My internship translated my knowledge of business and marketing theories into a variety of practical approaches and skills that I can now apply in real-life business scenarios, from performing thorough social media marketing to build a marketing and communication plan.

 

3. What were your learnings from the internship?

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to work as a Marketing and Promotional Assistant and undergo a project as a Marketing assistant. One of the most valuable skills I have gain from an internship is the ability to work on social media marketing such as marketing campaigns and Web development and as well as to speak with people in a professional setting.

 

4. What were some highlights of the experience?

Learning from a supervisor who has skills and experience of various years in relevant fields was a great opportunity for me as an individual. Moreover, being a part for committee meetings in office in presence of Chairpersons was another delightful experience.

 

5.Any other comments?

I am extremely grateful to AfCAS, my supervisor Mary Gurgone, and the institution for allowing me to join with this Placement. Working with AfCAS, not only heighten my marketing skills but has significantly increased my knowledge about Aged Care and CALD organisations. It’s been pleasure working under Mary Gurgone who not only provides guidance but also helps me to gain knowledge about Aged Care Sector throughout the placement.

Rohit Hirani (Intern)

The Association for Culturally Appropriate Services (AfCAS) is keen to support the learning of young people while also engendering interest of the young in aged care for people of diverse cultures and languages. We are delighted that our ongoing collaboration with Edith Cowan University- School of Business and Law, continues to ensure a steady stream of talented young people.

We are delighted to have had the opportunity to support Rohit’s practical learning on the job while also most appreciative of his commitment and talents that made him an ideal learner and team member.

We would like to share Rohit’s observations about his experience at the Associaton for Culturally Appropriate Services (AfCAS).

1.  What did you expect to achieve with the internship? 

 

Undergoing this internship was aimed at strengthening the theoretical knowledge that was gained from my bachelor’s degree in Management as a major. The real-world/workplace learning experience is aimed at shaping and moulding my management skills and giving and understanding of what is expected of a manager.

2. How did you find the internship experience at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services?

Completing my internship at AfCAS was a great experience. Working in a very intriguing industry of Culturally and Linguistic Diverse and aged care was a unique experience along with the management profession experience. Learning from a supervisor who has skills and experience of numerous years, and the different levels in the management profession was a great opportunity.

3. What were your learnings from the internship?

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to work as an assistant project manager and undergo a project as a management learning experience. During my time at the placement, I learnt that as a manager it is very important to communicate and negotiate with partnering organisations and persons in a project scenario in order to achieve the objectives.

4. What were some highlights of the experience?

Given the opportunity to be part of different activities in the projects, I was able to meet new people and develop contacts with seasoned staff. A perfect opportunity was to be part of an event with speakers from Perth and Melbourne. The best part of the company is operating as a team. The company has a friendly and versatile working environment that allowed me to work productively and complete my tasks in a timely and appropriate manner.

 

5. Any other comments?

It was a great opportunity to work along with Mary Gurgone and thank the university for sourcing me AfCAS as a work placement to gain the management professional experience and skills.

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Rachel Wong (2021 Intern)

Rachel is undertaking a Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, majoring in Event Management at ECU (expected finish date: June 2021). She has contributed greatly by utilising her event management skills and have helped hosted an event called 'Migrant Aged Care Jobs Forum for Graduates (Across Disciplines)' in April 2021. In thanking Rachel, we would like to share her observations about her internship experience with AfCAS as follows:

 

1. What are you expected to achieve with the internship?

3 months ago, I had aimed to learn how to market and promote an event. Today, I can successfully say that I know how to edit, design and create content and flyers on websites, Canva and social media platforms. I have learnt a lot from practicing and creating various designs weekly.

 

2. How did you find the internship experience at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services?

My internship experience with Mary was amazing. Although there were some hectic moments whilst planning and hosting the Jobs Forum event, the overall outcome outweighed the negatives. We were able to attract a handful of students who were highly engaged and motivated to work in the aged care sector. Mary was also very helpful throughout the process - she was a very good listener and a leader.

 

3. What were your learnings from the internship?

I’ve learnt that with planning, preparation and scheduling ahead of time, creates a successful outcome. My high school teacher once told me, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” and although time may not always be on our side, like this quote says, through successful planning, we will not fail. With the help of AfCAS and the ECU WIB committees, we have managed to pull off a successful event through a panel discussion and have engaged university students who were looking for jobs in the aged care sector. 

 

4. What were some highlights of the experience?

Being able to connect students with industry professionals and help them achieve their goals. It has been a pleasure hosting the Jobs Forum event as it gave me a chance to help students who were looking for jobs and the aged care organisations who were looking for students, to connect them together and meet both their needs. 

Devika Solanki (Intern)

It has been a pleasure to have the professional support of Devika Solanki, Master’s student from Edith Cowan University (ECU) introduced to us through the partnership with ECU Women in Business. On her last day she was interviewed by a fellow ECU Master’s student, Dinusha Hemasiri who is volunteering with AfCAS. The interview questions and answers follow.

1) What are you expected to achieve with the internship?

I am completing a Masters in Finance and Banking at Edith Cowan University (ECU). The university runs a Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) program to provide postgraduate students with an opportunity to complete between 100- 150 hours of field work to gain experience and expertise in their field of study and prepare them for work in a corporate environment. This WIL programme is a perfect opportunity for graduating students to exercise their theoretical learning in real-world scenarios.

2) How did you find the internship experience at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services?

This past semester, I completed an internship at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services (AfCAS) and was intrigued by how the team analyzes the needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community organisations along with the aged care provider organisations who are members. From August to November, I worked with the organisation. Over the process of placement, there are some unforgettable interactions. Particularly noteworthy was that I had the chance to develop relations with professional people from various organisations. Although it was very difficult during this pandemic to visit organisations in person, I am glad I was given the opportunity to visit an ethnic specific aged care organisation and learn (as part of the field of study) about how they run their organisation including finances and administration.

3) What were your learnings from the internship?

I was absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the Annual General Meeting of the Association, particularly to be involved with the financial planning and conduct of the event. Also, I participated in the preparation and conduct of an international webinar “Japanese and Australian migrant Aged Care Services and COVID-19 Response”. I also learned about financial systems including training on cyber security. I learned how to write a media release and be part of various promotional events, including Facebook and LInkedin posts, which helped develop my marketing skills, in addition to being able to meet the financial requirements of my course of study.

4) What were some highlights of the experience?

Given the opportunity to be part of different activities, I was able to meet new people and develop contacts with seasoned staff. A perfect opportunity was to be part of an international event with speakers from Japan, Perth and Melbourne. The best part of the company is operating as a team. In reality, the company has a versatile and friendly working atmosphere that allowed me to have peace of mind. The working environment was harmonious and allowed me to be productive during working hours.

5) Any other comments?

I am very grateful to AfCAS, my supervisor Mary Gurgone, and the university, for giving me the chance to be part of the working team. Working with AfCAS has strengthened my expertise and interest in aged care and CALD organisations by gaining experience of work in a professional setting. Working with my fellow student from ECU as well as making new friends at work has been a pleasure. This is made possible by my supervisor, who is always polite and enthusiastic, on a personal level.

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Dinusha Hemasiri (Volunteer)

We are proud to have had the honour of supporting such a committed and talented post-graduate Master’s student.  She will be an asset to any organisation that hires her, not only for her skills, but for her positive attitude and loyalty. In thanking Dinusha, we would like to share her observations about her internship and volunteer activity as follows:

1.  What are you expected to achieve with the internship?

As an international student, I wanted to gain experience in Australian work environment which would be a great opportunity for my future career prospects.

 

2. How did you find the internship experience at the Association for Culturally Appropriate Services?

I found the advert of volunteering role on Administration and Finance support, which was posted on Facebook page of ECU Accounting & Finance Society, circulated by ECU Women in Business. I realized that this would be a good opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge with the practical aspects of working in Australia.

3. What were your learnings from the internship?

I gained a massive experience on overall administration and finance work in a non-profit organization by working at AfCAS. I learnt how the projects are handled from the planning stage to the delivering stage since I supported several fantastic projects organized by AfCAS. I also had an exposure to IT and marketing with the platform of learnings through web training and social media handling on LinkedIn, Facebook and the website. As a finance student, it was a good practical exposure to getting to know funding sources, contribution towards budgeting and financial reports and invoice handling.

4. What were some highlights of the experience?

I’m delighted to become the first intern and volunteer of the partnership signed between AfCAS and ECU Women in Business. Throughout my 6 months journey at AfCAS I enjoyed every moment of working with the members at events and it was a great networking experience for me. I would also like to highlight the opportunity I got to participate and provide support to organising the AGM and the opportunity of contributing towards the Annual Report preparation of AfCAS as some cherished moments of my life at AfCAS.

5. Any other comments?

I would like to thank Mary Gurgone, the vice chairperson of AfCAS for the immense support and the guidance given as my immediate supervisor. I am very thankful to Irene Mooney (Chairperson), Jean Chew (Treasurer) and all committee members for providing their fullest support including advice, training and equipment. Finally, my sincere gratitude goes to ECU Women in Business Society and the ECU Accounting and Finance Students Society for creating such networks and partnerships that are valuable opportunities for students to achieve success in their career.

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