| 03 October 2022

Program creating pathways for refugees

The Engineering Pathway Industry Cadetship (EPIC) is an 18-month program for refugee and asylum seeker engineers.

The EPIC program offers refugee and asylum seeker engineers the opportunity to work on major transport infrastructure projects in Victoria. Engineers Australia graduate member Abdul Salloum is one of this year’s cadets. 

Due to circumstances out of his control Abdul was forced to seek asylum in Australia and apply for refugee status, which eventually led him to the EPIC training program. 

Abdul says he was “shocked” by how hard it was to get a job in engineering. Even with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from overseas, he was finding it challenging to get his foot in the door.  

The EPIC program aims to alleviate some of these challenges by matching engineers’ international qualifications to Australian workforce requirements. 

Through the EPIC program, Abdul gets on-the-job training on a two-year fixed-term contract with a construction company. He also receives support and mentoring, and a Graduate Certificate in Infrastructure Engineering Management through Swinburne University.  

“You get the local experience as well as a local education, which I lacked before,” he says.   

Abdul is currently working on major road upgrades in Melbourne’s south-east with Seymour Whyte and says the experience has made him feel like a totally different person.  

“When I started, I didn’t know all the lingo and all the different abbreviations. Now, I am able to communicate swiftly and directly without any problem,” he says.   

Abdul also found the support he got from Engineers Australia while he was going through the process of getting his qualifications approved was important to his success. Abdul says, “as a migrant engineer, being a member was a great way to make connections and communicate with peers. 

“I found the conferences, networking events and all the other activities that are organised by Engineers Australia very helpful tools to improve and widen my knowledge.” 

Abdul is hopeful that the graduate certificate, combined with his international qualifications and the hands-on experience gained through the program, will kick-start his career in engineering. 

Interested in mentoring a migrant? Expressions of interest are now open for engineers with two or more years’ experience in Australia to become a professional mentor for engineers from refugee or migrant backgrounds. 

Unfortunately the Engineering Pathway Industry Cadetship 2023 intake was closed early. Find out more.