Multicultural training encourages respect, adaptability, understanding

Olga, Cr Gary Allen, Jeril.jpg

Visitor Information Centre and other Surf Coast Shire volunteers, staff, and community members, gathered on Wednesday 22 May, at Stribling Reserve, in Lorne for a workshop facilitated by Multicultural Australia.

A group of about 60 people came together for training to upskill and learn ways to welcome visitors to our region, deliver a better experience, and interact with people from all walks of life.

The free training as part of National Volunteer Week celebrations (running Sunday 20 May until Sunday 26 May) is part of Council’s commitment to volunteering and enabling community action. This year’s National Volunteer Week’s theme is Something for Everyone and the training was a great fit for volunteers and people they serve.

From learning and unlearning conscious and unconscious biases, Lorne Ward Councillor Gary Allen said the afternoon was based around respect.

“We were incredibly lucky to be guided by cultural training facilitators from Multicultural Australia Olga Bryukhovets and Jeril Thomas,” Cr Allen said.

“Equipping ourselves with the knowledge and skills about how different cultures approach day to day situations and scenarios, means we can communicate better.

“From respecting different values and beliefs systems, to body language and non-verbal cues when communicating, this training helps us consider things from a different view point.”

Cr Allen said Olga who speaks five languages and has lived in six different countries, and Jeril, who hails from India with a wealth of experience in welfare work, were wonderful mentors.

“The workshop was all about encouraging everyone to keep an open and understanding mind when engaging with others,” Cr Allen said.

“Unconscious bias occurs when the brain makes quick judgments based on our past experiences and background this encourages us to take a different path instead.

“If these thoughts occur, we can consider how many cultures are in the world, how different our individual and collective life experiences are, and lean in to and embrace this diversity.

“We are so grateful for all our volunteers and the pivotal role they play. This training is one of the ways we are supporting their wonderful efforts and saying thanks.”

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