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.”