Workers with second language and cultural awareness are in demand
WORKERS who can speak a second language or have experience with other cultures should highlight this on their resume as it can give them an edge in many sectors.
Jobs that require human understanding, such as social work, customer service, and hospitality, or that deal with technical jargon, such as healthcare or law, can benefit greatly from workers with these skills.
In many parts of Australia, demographics are becoming increasingly diverse so workers are required to follow suit.
The reveals a third of the population was born outside of Australia and while England and New Zealand – both with very similar cultures to Australia – make up the largest proportion of this group, the proportion of those born in China and India in particular is growing.
There were more than 300 different languages spoken in Australian homes in 2016 and one in five Australians spoke a language other than English at home.
chief executive Domenic Valastro says the early childhood education sector is looking for educators who can relate to children and parents from diverse backgrounds as a big part of the role is understanding family dynamics and cultural differences.
“You might have the skill set of an educator but you also need to understand the cultural nuances of the families and adjust your learning in the context you are dealing with,” he says.
“Communication with parents when they have English as a second language is important.
“We have families that say to us ‘Can you not speak in our native language and instruct our child in English?’.
“While we are communicating with families in their native language, their children then learn English and the children end up going home and teaching their parents the English language.”
Valastro says his company looks for workers with cultural awareness and sensitivity as well as flexibility, openness and respect.
“You need a level of relatability and maturity that says you can speak with parents as opposed to speaking to parents,” he says.
Integricare Homebush West Long Day Care Centre manager Mahima Morgan was born in India and says her background opened her eyes.
“The colour of skin is only skin deep and there is so much more to human values,” she says.
Deborah Loveday, manager of Integricare’s Auburn preschool, says the first step to increasing cultural awareness is to be aware of yourself.
“The next step is to learn,” she says.
“You can do this in so many ways: research, read, travel or just talk to others – but you need to be open and be ready for the possibility of the need to challenge your beliefs and preconceived ideas.”
She says she has gained cultural awareness over 20-plus years working in the early childhood sector across different geographic areas.
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