Last Monday saw the Beyond Diversity team travel to regional New South Wales, to delivery cultural competency training to community sector workers at Headspace in the city of Orange.
The Cultural Competency training was organised in response to the growing refugee and migrant client base of community organisations in regional NSW, and the need to understand and tailor services to these clients.
Alison Logan, Program Manager for Headspace Orange said, “The workshops have been really interesting, thought provoking, it just opens your mind to a different way of thinking through the whole situation from which people have potentially come from, and the way we can use that information to make it easier for them to engage with us and our service.”
The training shed light on important issues and brought to attention misconceptions that participants held. Verity, a Community Engagement Worker at Orange, and Sessional Tutor at OCTEC said, “One thing that really stood out for me was the statistics on Australia's refugee intake, I was shocked and disappointed at the same time. We do have the misconception that we as a nation have one of the largest numbers in terms of intake,”
Neville Atkinson, an indigenous Australian and Youth Care Coordinator at Headspace Orange, spoke of how the cultures and values held by refugee and migrant communities resonated with him and his indigenous heritage. “A real standout to me was the similarities between my indigenous culture and the cultures of those who have comes to Australia (as migrants/refugees) - the similarities I’ve learnt that we have is something that is beneficial to me (as a worker). I think that there is a common ground there that I am eager to explore.”
“Cultural identity makes up the essence of who we are and I think that if we can’t bring that to the table, especially in such an area as mental health, we are really missing the whole point of what we are doing.”