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A chance to thrive


“I was lucky to receive a call from Brotherhood of St Laurence about a role at ANZ, a partner in the program that provides placements. I was told it was a really good opportunity to work in the Customer Resolution team.” Felton, Given the Chance Participant.


Brotherhood of St Laurence Given the Chance Participant with a black t-shirt at ANZ

Felton, Given the Chance Participant

After graduating with a Commercial Law degree in Beijing, Felton decided to move to Australia to pursue further education. It was a speech at his university by Australia’s former Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr that inspired Felton to make the move down under.


“I grew up in Central Asia as part of a disadvantaged minority group so when I heard Bob Carr talk about Australia, I thought to myself - ‘I need to get there’. It sounded like a great place to live and continue my studies with lots of opportunities,” says Felton.

In 2019, Felton was two years into his Master of Business when his mother contacted him with the news that would change his world forever.


“She told me it would be safer to stay in Australia and not return home – ever,” he says. “I didn’t want to risk my, or my family’s safety, so I applied for a visa which allowed me to stay in Australia. I’m thankful I’m now a permanent resident and can apply for citizenship.”


Given an opportunity


While completing his Masters in Australia, Felton worked casually in a bottle shop where he was able to practice English with customers. Feeling more confident with the language and following his passion to help people, he decided to apply for a role at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).


“I was offered a role at ASRC as a peer support and engagement officer. I managed the ASRC Hub and looked after their art program, scholarships and work placement programs. This is when I found out about the Given the Chance program,” says Felton.

Felton contacted the Brotherhood of St Laurence to find out more about Given the Chance. He was accepted into the program where he learnt how to write his resume and develop job interview skills.


“I was lucky to receive a call from Brotherhood of St Laurence about a role at ANZ, a partner in the program that provides placements. I was told it was a really good opportunity to work in the Customer Resolution team,” Felton says.

After an interview with ANZ Felton was offered a role as a customer complaints case manager.


“I didn’t know anything about banking or managing customer complaints,” he admits “I wasn’t even an ANZ customer yet. I was terrified! Everyone in my training session already had more than five years’ experience at ANZ.” 



The chance to grow


It didn’t take long for Felton to get the hang of the job. He attributes the support of his colleagues in helping him thrive.

“I’m grateful for my manager and senior case managers who were my ‘buddies’ when I started. I was in a new job, learning how to use new tools - and doing it all virtually! They guided me so I felt empowered to make decisions that were best for our customers,” Felton says.


Fluent in Mandarin, Felton soon became the team’s unofficial translator and played an important role in helping customers who speak Mandarin: “During the pandemic lots of our customers had moved back to China and were having trouble accessing their banking because they didn’t speak fluent English. I was able to speak with customers and help resolve their issues quickly. I never thought this would be my advantage!”


Felton says the best thing about working at ANZ is the people and a commitment to supporting customers.

“I used to think banks were really intimidating. Now I know everyone in the team is really warm-hearted and wants what is best for our customers and each other,” he says.


It’s this care for customers Felton would like to continue to pursue.


“In the future, I’d like to continue to use my skills and experiences to help people and really make a positive difference to people’s lives. I think about where I’ve come from and know it’s possible to turn the lives around of those who are suffering. This is my biggest dream,” he says.


Brotherhood of St Laurence Given the Chance program


ANZ has partnered with the Brotherhood of St Laurence since 2007 to recruit employees through the Given the Chance program. The program is designed to assist marginalised job seekers into work and foster social benefit and inclusion in workplace communities.


The Brotherhood of St Laurence Given the Chance program offers a variety of opportunities for job seekers, including:

  • Labour hire provides job seekers with much needed Australian workplace experience, while allowing employers time to identify whether they may be suitable for longer term employment.
  • A relationship manager is appointed to support supervisors, field questions and identify further support where needed.
  • The Building Bridges Cultural Awareness training helps develop manager skills to assist with employees' integration into the workplace and provides practical tools and information to help navigate cultural differences that may arise.
  • Each employee is appointed a field officer to help navigate the transition to employment.
  •  Employers can also access wider Brotherhood services to support new and existing employees, including support to boost English skills and micro finance assistance.

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