Make it Work

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Project Overview

Make It Work is a local, boutique scale service that partners with local businesses and migrants and refugees to create local work for local people. Working in the City of Yarra and City of Melbourne, we have identified with our community the multiple barriers they face to gaining employment. Many graduate from studying English and feel they are at a dead end. Local businesses can benefit from reflecting their diverse community in their workforce whilst holding out a helping hand to a group in our community that could benefit greatly by contributing to their Australian community through employment.

Our local area is diverse with 63% of people living in Carlton being born overseas and around 65% of the residents from the local Carlton public housing estate speaking a language other than English at home. Unfortunately, they experience high levels of unemployment and are more likely to face discrimination and disadvantage that stops them from reaching their full potential. We want to change that fact.

Our Goal: To bridge the pathways to meaningful work for Carlton’s refugee and migrant community through real local opportunities.

Our Vision: Our goal is to measurably and sustainably change the lives of our community members, assisting individuals in to work experience, further education and ultimately employment. Our experience is that this individual support benefits the whole community as they help others into employment, supporting their families and communities with more confidence.

Our Principles:

  • Local work for local people
  • Focusing on industries with upward mobility pathways
  • Working with community, not just individuals
  • Working on a targeted local scale to enable personalised support with employers and the community
  • Co-creating education, training and employment pathways

Our Model:

  1. Assessment
  2. Co creation
  3. Training and Placement
  4. Ongoing Support 

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Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre’s (CNLC) Make It Work initiative has emerged from the 47 year history of CNLC’s work alongside the Carlton community, providing English language and skills for employment, training and education as well as community development and advocacy support.

At Make it Work, we recognise and seek to overcome the multiple challenges that migrants and refugees face in finding decent and fulfilling employment in Australia.

Barriers to employment infographic

  • Lack of local experience is solved by our volunteering and work placement Opportunities
  • Low English language proficiency is solved by vocational language development
  • Lack of overseas qualification recognition is solved by targeting relevant industry/training opportunities and placement
  • Lack of networks is assisted by holding network events between local employers and potential employees as well as connecting to agencies through volunteering, work experience and community involvement
  • Lack of specialised services and support solved through individualised, tailored support, mentoring and guidance.
  • We also offer free personalised support services to clients through our Open Door programs to address complex needs allowing people to focus on their employment opportunities.

Businesses & Partnerships

Here at Make it Work we strive to establish partnerships with local, ethically minded businesses. We aim to connect with those who are in growing industries such as, aged care services; social services; health service industry; economic social and community development; education services; retail trade; healthcare and social assistance; construction; education and training; accommodation and food services; and professional, scientific and technical services. However we have clients with a diversity of skills.

Our partnered businesses and agencies help Make it Work achieve its goals by providing employment, work experience opportunities and mentoring for community clients.

There are many ways to get involved and partner with us to create local job opportunities including…

Parnership opportunities

Click the link below for more information.


  • Help you to find effective and hard-working employees who can enrich your business with their diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds.
  • Continue to work with you and your employees/work experience placements to help make that new relationship smooth, productive and enjoyable.
  • Provide English language and support services to our community clients so they are workforce ready and confident.

Ultimately the aim of this initiative is to connect people with sustainable jobs, and real success would see our marginalised Carlton community as a whole more engaged, networked, financially independent and more confident on how to achieve their life goals. We will work hard to ensure our participants fit right into your organisation and train them to be competent. We take pride in our community and are confident you will feel the same too.

By employing a Make it Work community client, you can help reduce racism, disadvantage and discrimination in your local community by being part of the solution.


Partner with us to enhance your corporate social responsibility whilst supporting your business goals and impacting the community positively. We assure that you will be more relevant to the culturally diverse population you serve, benefit from the hardworking attitude of migrants and refugees, and demonstrate your business as a leader in the local area by your participation in this program.

Job Seekers

If you are living in Carlton or a surrounding neighbourhood, are from a refugee or migrant background and are looking for meaningful work, then you may be eligible for our Make it Work program. Contact us for more information.


  • Help you with your resume, and prepare you for interviews and work (including clothes, accessories and resources to help you make a great impression!)
  • Connect you with local businesses
  • Offer training & mentoring including job ready workshops and career planning

We have developed a local, personalised service that is founded on a 3-way partnership with local employers, CNLC and YOU!

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