Deeper​ Dive Economic Participation

Being able to participate in the workforce provides individuals with more than a source of income. It opens the way for economic independence, helps build identity and self-esteem, and deepens ties within the community.

SSI has clear goals for economic participation through our newly developed Social Impact Framework. In the interim, we aim to help people access services that will lead to employment. Our goal for those with entrepreneurial ambitions is to help them understand the Australian business environment, and to access the skills, knowledge and support they need to establish a successful business. 


Over the longer term, we want our clients to feel confident about the steps they are taking towards employment or running a business. We want them to gain sustainable employment and achieve financial security and resilience. One of the ways we help people achieve these outcomes is by facilitating partnerships and connections with employers and industry bodies to create employment opportunities.

Ultimately, our goal is to help our clients lead active and productive lives and have opportunities to participate in and contribute to their communities.

Below are examples of programs that contribute to Economic Participation outcomes for our clients. Each of the programs below may also contribute to one or more of our other delivery outcomes.


Opportunity Pathways Program


Opportunity Pathways is a NSW Government, employment-focused program that helps people receiving social housing assistance to access education, training and work. It is aimed at those who want to improve their employment options and who are living in social housing or receiving a Rent Choice subsidy.

In FY2020, SSI’s Opportunity Pathways team supported more than 150 people to overcome complex barriers to employment. Some 88 per cent of program participants were supported into employment and 65 per cent of people we supported participated in a pre-employment program or received educational support to assist in securing employment. Some 67 per cent of participants this year were women. The program achieved 13-week and 26-week employment milestones for 15 per cent of people

Disability Employment Services

SSI is a provider of Disability Employment Services (DES), the Australian Government’s employment service that helps people with a disability, injury or health condition to find work and keep a job. Over 80 per cent of SSI DES participants are from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, with over 80 per cent of participants also having been assessed as having complex and multiple barriers to employment.


Allianz Ladder

Launched in FY2018, the Allianz Ladder program aims to teach young refugees basic business skills and help them find a job. The result of cooperation between SSI and insurance business Allianz, the program includes a series of workshops and mentoring sessions that help participants develop foundation business skills such as problem solving, innovation, communication and teamwork. 

In May 2020, the program was awarded the NSW Premier’s Multicultural Award for Business Excellence. In total, the program has positively impacted the lives of over 80 young people from refugee backgrounds who have participated in the program and been supported through pre-employment Allianz workshops. To date, 14 youth participants have been recruited into permanent employment at Allianz in a variety of roles.


Regional Development and Relocation to Work

Access Community Service’s regional relocation program involves the resettlement of refugees to rural and regional areas through a ‘relocation to work’ model. Relocation support includes the full suite of services required to successfully settle in a rural area, ranging from basic living essentials to establishing new support systems, including access to community services.


Youth Transitions


Our Queensland-based Youth Transitions project provides early intervention assistance to address the barriers that prevent young people from participating as active citizens in the local community. In FY2020, some 69 employment outcomes were achieved, along with 35 vocational training outcomes and 85 educational outcomes.

Ignite® Small Business Start-ups


Starting a business is a great way to achieve economic empowerment for new arrivals who face barriers to gaining employment in Australia. Through SSI’s self-funded Ignite® initiative, we support refugees in NSW and Queensland to establish or expand their small business. Inspired by the success of the Ignite® model, our NSW IgniteAbility® Small Business Start-ups program assists people with disability in the same endeavour. This year 25 new business start-ups were registered in NSW and Queensland, and 65 entrepreneurs completed the program.

Ignite® Canada


Ignite® Canada was developed and adapted from the Australian initiative and is a joint initiative between the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISSofBC) and SSI. Established in March 2019, 110 Canadian entrepreneurs had received support by the end of the financial year. Of these, 28 businesses were established with 45 per cent being led by women.

Financial Literacy Project


A lack of financial education and options can leave new arrivals to Australia vulnerable to pitfalls that can erode their standard of living, such as discriminatory lending practices, payday lenders, living beyond their means and even domestic and family violence. The Commonwealth Bank’s Financial Literacy Toolkit produced with the support of SSI aims to assist newly arrived refugees to build financial awareness and independence. The toolkits consist of activity books in both English and Arabic and case manager guides. During the 2019 calendar year, the kits were used to improve the financial literacy of over 1,000 newly arrived refugees during orientation sessions.



  • 1,577 individuals gained employment for longer than 26 weeks;

  • 1,697 people gained work experience, activity placement or voluntary placement;

  • 64 entrepreneurs completed the Ignite® Small Business Start-up program in NSW and Queensland;

  • 25 small business start-ups were established in NSW and Queensland.

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