To coincide with World Refugee Week, IKEA Australia announced the evolution of its pilot Refugee Workforce Inclusion program to a permanent pillar of recruitment. The program, which began in 2021, will transition from eight-weeks of paid work placement to secure and ongoing employment opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers.

The Refugee Workforce Inclusion program is in partnership with refugee inclusion specialists, Community Corporate. Since its inception, the program has provided paid work placements to 160 refugees and asylum seekers from 23 different cultural backgrounds, speaking 40 different languages.

IKEA Australia Refugee Workforce Inclusion leader, Harriet Pope commented, “We are thrilled to be evolving the Refugee Workforce Inclusion program to support refugees and people seeking asylum to secure stable and meaningful career pathways with IKEA Australia. 

“The program to date has demonstrated the mutual benefits of supporting refugees to enter the Australian workforce, including increased employee engagement and pride in an inclusive culture, greater cross-cultural competence, new mentorship skills for IKEA staff and deeper cultural connections leading to a better customer experience.”

Community Corporate CEO, Carmen Garcia said, “It has been an honour and privilege to come on the journey with IKEA Australia in co-designing and delivering the Refugee Workforce Inclusion program and be part of the next era of their commitment to hiring refugees into the business. This is what true collaboration looks like, when values align and our aspirations and ambition delivers hope, rewards and opportunities for all.

“The level of commitment from IKEA across the entire business has been visible through the level of engagement, participation, care and consultation critical to our success to date as the lead national partner in opening doors to opportunities for refugees to join the IKEA team. 

“Together, we have proven, we can do it differently with meaning and I thank each and every co-worker for playing a pivotal role in welcoming and supporting refugees build skills, confidence and find genuine belonging in the IKEA family. Our team at community Corporate are excited to continue this partnership with IKEA as we roll out the next stage of this opportunity for refugees.”