Deakin CREATE, Puva.

“My mentee Hadeel, reminded me of myself when I arrived in Australia 20 years ago. I wish a free careers mentoring program had been available then and that I’d had someone to guide me in the right direction.” We hear from mentor Dr Puva Arumugam. “Being part of the program was such a wonderful experience for me. I felt like I’d been living in a bubble with blinkers on. I’m a single mum of teenagers and often feel alone like I’m managing everything myself. Working with Hadeel and my other mentee, Rasha made me appreciate where I am, my burden doesn’t seem so heavy at all.


“If you have the opportunity to commit a little bit of time, I would urge you to join the Deakin CREATE career’s clinic as a mentor, or mentee for that matter. As well as gaining new friends in my mentees, I learnt so much. I reflected on my resume, and updated my CV and Linkedin profile too.”

“Throughout the 7-weeks mentorship period, I saw my mentees faces go from lit to worried, due to the ongoing crisis. We provided positive comments to encourage each other. I saw Hadeel recently and was happy to note that she was positively glowing with happiness.”

“I’m about to publish my second book of poetry called ‘Black and White’ and Hadeel has permitted me to use her stunning photos in this book.” Puva’s first book of poetry, was published in 2013 and is tilted ‘Tears and Fears’. She has a background as a playwright and ran theatre groups in Melbourne.

“After moving to the region, I undertook further education at Deakin University and now I am a Lecturer, Learning Futures which is part of the Business and Law Faculty. When Covid-19 struck, I was part of the team to help academics rush everything online as I was a learning designer in a previous role. It wasn’t as simple as placing lectures online, we had to make sure all the content was covered and outcomes were met.” So, although Puva was busier than ever she made time for her mentoring role.

“I’d met Alex from Deakin CREATE and initially I was to be part of a physical mentoring session. When I found out it was to be online, I realised this would be even easier. It was a wonderful, enriching experience and I would definitely do it again. These wonderful participants are interesting, educated, hardworking people who are looking for meaningful jobs and we are laying the foundation and groundwork for them. I wish someone had been there for me 20 years ago. (Giggling) I didn’t even know what a referee was as we didn’t need them much in Singapore. You should have seen the girls’ faces light up when I told them I’d gladly be a referee for them.”

“I’ve mentored in different capacities over the years and I found the Deakin CREATE careers clinic experience particularly self-fulfilling in so many ways.”

The next free Deakin CREATE careers clinic for refugees and asylum seekers is running later in July and you’ll need to register by the 22nd. Go to their website for more information.

Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: supplied