Cindy Nguyen came to New Zealand from Vietnam in July 2018 to study at Massey University, Palmerston North. We recently had the chance to kōrero with Cindy about her career journey and the Network of Skilled Migrants Manawatū (NSMM) an organisation that she has been involved with for a number of years.
You came to New Zealand to study and now have a role at Palmerston North City Council, tell us a bit about your career journey.
Yes, I came to Palmerston North to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Business at Massey University and graduated in 2019. Over the last few years I have volunteered for many organisations including Massey University Students’s Association, Manawatū Multicultural Centre, Volunteer Central and Network of Skilled Migrants Manawatū (NSMM).
Through NSMM and the Palmerston North City Council (PNCC), I was selected for the Skilled Migrant Internship programme with the full-time paid position of Asset Management Officer at the Infrastructure unit in March 2020. The programme gave me the opportunity to gain valuable experience in local government and a chance to contribute my knowledge and previous experience to my team. The more experience I gained in the role, the clearer my career pathway became.
After the internship I continued looking for a permanent position to pursue my dream on a career journey. It was my desire to continue contributing my skills and experience to local communities, and I got lucky, now I am a Community Funding Coordinator at the Community Development Division at PNCC. This job brings me more opportunities to work with communities closely and definitely aligns with my values and desires to contribute to a better community.
You are a member of the Network of Skilled Migrants Manawatū (NSMM), please tell us about the organisation?
NSMM is a volunteer organisation set up in 2016 and is dedicated to providing services which connect and support skilled migrants to overcome common obstacles including;
- explaining Kiwi work culture to eliminate misunderstandings,
- CV writing and interviews to improve profile,
- networking with local businesses and people to connect and be noticed
- developing soft skills to enable integration
- improving communication and presentation skills to meet professional standards
- facilitating immigration support to secure a future in NZ
Why do we need an organisation such as NSMM?
NSMM is a place for all skilled migrants based in Palmy, where they can connect and share with each other to develop skills, experiences and careers in New Zealand. We are here to encourage and support each other, to be brave, to have a big dream, to be well prepared for our future, especially in settling down in New Zealand.
What are the benefits of joining the NSMM?
All our committee members are volunteers and to be a member of NSMM is free. We connect cultures, NSMM organises social gatherings and connection between skilled migrants and local businesses and other organisations. NSMM helps members to become engaged in the community. Besides that many members obtained employment after joining NSMM and we are dedicated to increasing this number.
Do you have any examples where being part of NSMM has led to career opportunities?
Take me as an example, like many international students and migrants, I had trouble with my English, my assignments and exams, I didn’t think that I could give a speech in front of many people. I found it difficult to understand the Kiwi accent and culture, and especially struggled with my job search.
What did I do to overcome those struggles? I asked for help from experienced people, from my university and my volunteer networks. I attended many career workshops, like CV and interview workshops, and culture workshops from NSMM. Through NSMM I got so much useful information to prepare myself for my job search.
As I said, NSMM creates a connection between skilled migrants and local businesses and other organisations. This benefits members who are looking for a job. Of course, there are still many other requirements to get a suitable job, however, connection and volunteering benefits both you and society because it makes you a better person; which therefore prepares you for your future career and contributes to a better community.