Deakin University, Deakin Business School

Deakin Business School: CREATEDeakin Business School Logo

CREATE is the first applied research center of its kind that helps people from a refugee background obtain meaningful employment and access to education.

Call to Action

People from a refugee background, especially those on temporary or bridging visas, encounter significant challenges in accessing higher education and obtaining employment opportunities commensurate with their skills. Further, employers are often reluctant to hire people from a refugee background.

To address these issues, Deakin Business School launched the Centre for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training and Education (CREATE) in early 2019. The center assists people from a refugee background in rebuilding their careers through access to education and meaningful employment. It also works with community-sector partners to develop research-based practical solutions to support refugees, such as career clinics and information guides.

In developing different initiatives, the team at Deakin CREATE has worked collaboratively with partners such as the Refugee Council of Australia, vocational and higher education institutions, social enterprises, and nonprofit organizations.

CREATE also aims to foster scholarship on issues related to refugee employment and education through special issues in journals and at major academic conferences. Its researchers are global leading scholars on the topic of refugee employment and careers.


CREATE is innovative in that it is the first applied research center in the world that focuses on issues related to both the education of and employment for people from a refugee background. In developing initiatives such as career clinics and employment/education guides, the center actively involves students from a refugee background as research assistants to ensure that refugees’ lived experiences are considered in the design of initiatives.

CREATE has developed novel approaches to supporting the career development of people from a refugee background. It has launched weekly career clinics that employ an innovative mentor/mentee model wherein mentors support mentees on a weekly basis over a period of eight weeks. The center focuses on supporting highly skilled refugees in obtaining work that is commensurate with their skills and experiences, and is therefore different from other employment programs that tend to focus on supporting people in finding unskilled work.

In addition, it is the first program of its kind to deliver career development to people from a refugee background in a virtual format. The use of online platforms to deliver live, interactive career clinics allows delivery of career support at low cost and facilitates the involvement of industry mentors who have significant demands on their time.

Finally, CREATE has developed a new online course comprising a set of videos and an interactive workbook to support people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in obtaining work in regional Australia. Access to such materials is provided free of charge via links on the center’s website. Corporate partners, such as Mercer, have also provided support for development of program materials.


To date, CREATE has supported over 100 individuals in finding employment or gaining access to tertiary education. Looking ahead, from 2020 to 2022, the career clinics launched by Deakin CREATE aim to support over 450 highly skilled job seekers from a refugee background in obtaining work. Through this employment support, Deakin CREATE delivers significant economic and social benefits for the Australian government, taxpayers, and individuals from a refugee background.

The Deakin CREATE team has published guides for individuals looking to access education, for higher education institutions on supporting those learners once at university, and for organizations looking to employee people from a refugee background. CREATE’s flagship guide, A Guide for Employers: Supporting Access to Employment for People from a Refugee or Asylum Seeking Background, is currently used by more than 30 community-sector organizations. In addition, the online version of the guide is accessed on average 200 times per month.

All the materials and programs the team creates are provided to community-sector partners free of charge, allowing the team to develop scalable solutions that help foster the social and economic integration of people from a refugee background.

CREATE’s impact has been recognized by the Australian Financial Review’s Higher Education Awards and by Falling Walls Press’s Science Breakthrough of the Year Awards in 2020. It is presently a subject of discussion with the U.N. Refugee Agency about how its initiatives can be scaled up on a global basis.

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