Daniel Tesfay - FIFO Bus Driver

About the author : Brand & Communications
Published on : 8/9/22
  • “This is a new life for me, and I am so happy with Sodexo. Sodexo has accepted us, looked after us. They gave us a chance when no one else would during the pandemic,” he said.

    Arriving in Australia in 2019 as an Eritrean refugee, Daniel Tesfay began searching for an employer that would give him a ‘fair go’. Fast-forward three years later, Daniel’s optimism and determination has seen him become a qualified bus driver with Sodexo.

    “It was difficult getting a job in Australia. Now, I’m really happy. In my mind, I sleep well because I have a job,” Daniel said.

    Escaping the conflict of his home country, Daniel has overcome numerous challenges to find employment, including cultural and language barriers.

    With the support of Red Cross, Daniel secured a seasonal role picking fruit. Once the harvest was over he came across Sodexo’s inaugural Refugee Employment Program, a four-week intensive training course to prepare refugee-status Australians to become work-ready.

    At the completion of the course Daniel and his peers were employed into full-time positions with Sodexo.

    “This is a new life for me, and I am so happy with Sodexo. Sodexo has accepted us, looked after us. They gave us a chance when no one else would during the pandemic,” he said.

    Since starting with the organisation, Daniel has earnestly undertaken a range of programs and subsequent roles such as housekeeping, utilities, and laundry. Each role has offered him opportunities to be connected to a supportive team, improve his English language skills, and find other roles to excel in.

    The support from the village has been good and my supervisor looks after me as well. I’m very lucky to have their support,” said Daniel.

    In January 2022 Daniel made the personal goal to become a bus driver, after being exposed to many different roles on-site. He had enrolled himself to upskill through Sodexo’s Transport

    Training Pathways Program and, after five months, was ready to take on the new role as a qualified bus driver.

    In this program, participants of this specialised training undergo three phases of Heavy Rigid Licence and Bus Competency, First Aid qualifications, and safety training, prior to a soft landing on-site.

    The training program was good, especially the staff who were always nice and helpful,” Daniel said.

    “By practising we got better at our jobs, the training helped with our confidence.”

    Daniel’s current role is an accomplishment and testament to his hard work, humble ambitions and positive attitude – qualities that Sodexo recognises as exceptionally valuable to his role and team.

    I received an Employee of the Month reward, and I was very surprised by that. I was just doing my job, but the recognition was nice,” said Daniel.

    “My new role as a bus driver has helped my English skills as I talk to a lot of different people, so I enjoy doing it.”

    Since the success of the pilot refugee program, Daniel is one of Sodexo’s many star employees who has excelled through professional development programs available. Daniel’s story demonstrates the untapped potential of refugee Australians when organisations put programs in place to support their transition and upskilling.

    “I would like to say thank you to my managers and Sodexo. The opportunity you have given me to gain a career is a big step forward for me and my family,” Daniel said.

    “I’m very happy working hard in whichever way the company needs my help.”

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