Meet Abu – one of Australia’s most inspiring job seekers

Published on 16 Aug 2019

  • Abu fled Afghanistan civil war with parents and five young siblings
  • Forced to leave pregnant wife in Pakistan to take family to safer shores
  • Joined APM Employment Services to find work to support family
  • Named top achiever in national employment services award

After fleeing Afghanistan’s civil war when the Taliban cut off his father’s hand, Abu Zahih Wahid, found hope in Pakistan.

As he awaited a refugee resettlement visa to Australia, Abu met and married his wife and she soon became pregnant with their baby daughter.

But when he and his family were permitted to travel to Australia, it was a bittersweet time for Abu.

Even if his expectant wife was allowed to travel, she could not join Abu and his family because she was not part of their visa application a few years earlier.

Forced to leave them behind to help his parents and five younger siblings find a safer life, Abu vowed to do everything he could to bring his wife and daughter to his new home too.

That was nearly two years ago, and since then Abu, now 26, hasn’t stopped working to secure his family’s future.

And it was his commitment and determination to make Australia a new home and support his family which saw Abu named Achiever of the Year at the 2019 NESA (National Employment Service Agency) Excellence Awards.

The prestigious award praised Abu’s continuing efforts to overcome hardship and make a better life for his family in Australia.

Receiving the award in Melbourne, Abu said he was humbled by the judges’ recognition.

“Thank you for giving me an opportunity to join this event” he said.

“I am so happy, and I wish that this award will inspire other job seekers to gain a sustainable employment and have a better life.

“Thank you Australia for giving me and my family a safe place to stay.”

APM Employment Services CEO Karen Rainbow, pictured above with Abu and the APM team, said Abu represented the best of Australian job seekers who are determined to find employment.

“Everyone at APM is thrilled Abu has been recognised for his hard work and continuing achievements in his goals to secure lasting employment and provide a better life for himself and his family.

“Abu’s dedication to helping his family and selflessness in putting other people first is an inspiration to us all.

“Enabling better lives is what APM is all about and Abu is a true advocate of that.

“We hope he continues to find success and we look forward to helping Abu achieve more of his goals. And we continue to hope for a happy ending for Abu and his wife and young daughter.”

Joining APM Employment Services in 2017, Abu was eager to do whatever he could to find work in construction.

But it wasn’t easy as his English skills were limited. Enrolling in language classes Abu was soon able to complete the job seeker requirements of his jobactive program.

With APM’s support, Abu gained a White Card and moved towards his goal of a job in the construction industry.

As his language skills slowly improved, Abu’s determination to succeed led to APM employment consultant Robert to place him in further training - a Certificate II in Warehousing and Logistics.

It proved to be a winning move for Abu as his willingness to learn and his positive attitude to finding work was spotted by the course trainer, and he was recommended for a role with Tailored Personnel.

Shortly after, Abu started work in a distribution centre.

His journey to paid employment had taken nine months, but Abu’s hard work wasn’t over.

Having no driver’s licence, Abu needed to get up at 4.30am to catch a bus and train to be at work for a 6.30am start.

Despite the long commute, Abu proved so reliable he was soon offered more shifts and becoming a regular member of the team, he quickly made new friends. One colleague, who was also from Afghanistan, offered Abu lifts to work.

And when he was able to start driving, his friend kindly let him use the regular commute for driving lessons.

Late last year Abu passed his test and bought a car. Enabling him to spend more time supporting his younger brother and sisters while also continuing to work.

But for Abu, perhaps his greatest achievement was saving for a trip back to Pakistan in January this year to see his wife and meet his daughter for the first time.

Today, Abu’s English continues to improve with three evening classes a week as he looks for a full-time, permanent role.

Abu also aims to take up further studies in mechanics or engineering.

All while working on his goal of safely bringing his wife and child to a new happy and healthy home in Australia.

APM at NESA Awards

As well as celebrating Abu’s success at the NESA Excellence Awards, APM team members were also recognised for their fantastic achievements.

APM jobactive Business Manager, Sarina Isles, was named a finalist for her outstanding work and achievements supporting Indigenous Australian job seekers in Adelaide.

And APM Disability Employment Services consultant Suzy Levy was the recipient of a National Conference Scholarship.

APM Employment Services CEO Karen Rainbow praised everyone for their success.

“Congratulations Abu, Sarina and Suzy. Great to see you all receiving recognition for your hard work and dedication.

“Congratulations also to Employment Consultant Robert Robert who supported Abu into sustainable employment and Regional Manager Anthony Park for his support and assistance with putting together Abu's nomination.”

Find out more information about the NESA Excellence Awards.

Learn more about APM Employment Services for job seekers.