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When one role becomes four


“The Brotherhood of St Laurence really does everything it can to help you overcome the hard experience or situation you might be facing at that particular time in your life.”


Seba Mansour, successful Given the Chance candidate.


Seba Mansour, successful Given the Chance candidate (middle), with Teresa Rulla, Branch Manager at Brimbank Shopping Centre (left) and Rock Hughes, Inclusion Australia ANZ (right).

Last year, two ANZ Branch Managers were faced with a dilemma. Well, actually a double dilemma: they had one role but four impressive candidates.


“After each interview we said they’re the one! We were delighted with the quality of applicants we had to choose from,” says Fabian Mazzone, Branch Manager at ANZ Preston in Melbourne’s north. The candidates were all from the Given the Chance Program, a partnership between ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, which actively looks for applicants facing disadvantage, specifically refugees and asylum seekers.


While only one role was initially available, the managers, Fabian and Clare Contsas, were so impressed with the calibre of candidates and what they could bring to the team they were able to create additional roles to accommodate all four within the branch.


The Given the Chance Program was developed in response to employers who recognised the benefits of diversity in the workforce but didn’t necessarily have the resources or knowledge to recruit such roles or provide ongoing support once candidates were placed.



Seba’s story


I migrated from Syria to Australia towards the end of 2016 with my parents and my sister.


Back home, I had a Bachelor’s degree in economics and worked as an accountant in the financial department at a bank. Once I arrived in Australia I wanted to continue my education so I started my Masters in professional accounting.


I landed a job in an Accounts Payable department at a company while I was studying. I was with them for three years. Then the pandemic hit. Unfortunately, I caught the virus and ended up having to leave my job.


It was then I came across the Brotherhood of St Laurence. I had spoken to a friend who had been part of the Given the Chance program and she highly recommended it.


I contacted and registered with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and they assigned someone to find me job opportunities. I went through the interview process with ANZ as well as some interviews with a few other companies - but my first preference was to work at ANZ.


I was so happy when I received the call from ANZ that I contacted my parents straight away and said “You are now speaking to an ANZ Personal Banker”.


I’ve now been working at ANZ for five months and I feel privileged to be part of the team. I’ve finished all my courses so I’m fully accredited to do everything at the branch.


I recommend the Given the Chance program to anyone who is out of work and needs a job. The Brotherhood of St Laurence does everything they can to help you overcome the hard experience or situation you might be facing at that particular time in your life.


They really care about providing a job – and not just any job, but one best suited to you. They don’t force you to take an opportunity just because it’s available and they ask for your opinion as well.


No matter how much you feel down in life, you should never give up because there are a lot of people willing to help. Without the Brotherhood of St Laurence, I never would have dreamed such an opportunity with ANZ would be possible.



BSL plays an active role training ANZ teams to understand the challenges each candidate faces as well as the opportunities for the business, which has a flow on effect in the community.


BSL also provides candidates with training and interview preparation and, in turn, provides high quality recruits for ANZ. Training focuses on soft skills including interview preparation, cultural training, reference procurement and building business networks.


Clare, Branch Manager at Northland in Melbourne, who assisted in Seba’s appointment says “the interviews were very upbeat, and the applicants did most of the talking. The candidates kept reinforcing how excited they were to be provided with an opportunity to work at ANZ and had a great outlook on life in general”.


According to Louise Ellis, Inclusion and Talent Manager at ANZ, “a diverse workforce allows ANZ to reflect the customer base that we service and brings a wonderful mix of new ideas, perspectives and experience to our teams”.


“It also increases productivity by incorporating a wider range of skills and improves cultural insights”, adds Rock Hughes, Assurance Management Expert at ANZ.


The Given the Chance Program - which forms part of a partnership between ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) - actively recruits job seekers facing disadvantage, specifically refugees and asylum seekers, into six to 12 month full-time positions.


The program has placed more than 230 participants into roles at ANZ since the partnership began in 2006.


The Brotherhood of St Laurence recently won the Best Strategic Partnership award at the 2021 Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) Awards for Excellence in Fundraising, an acknowledgement of the partnership with ANZ to support a better financial wellbeing for all.



Oh the places you’ll go

The opportunities education provides can take you far from home.

Giving opportunity through employment

The Given the Chance program helps refugees and asylum seekers find independence through work.

Chance of a new future

For the past 12 years, The Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ have supported more than 200 people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds into paid work at ANZ - one participant shares her experience.