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Opening doors Sadah's experience on the pilot

 Development Internship Programme

Deloitte Ireland’s Development Internship Programme, launched in 2020, supports those in the international protection process or in direct provision in Ireland. In September last year, we welcomed Sadah Tumusabe as our first participant in the programme.

Sadah shared her experience, highlights and learnings from the past year, prefaced by an introduction from Danielle Morris, who supported Sadah’s internship on a day-to-day basis.

Introduction and background

My name is Danielle and I’m a Consultant in the Irish immigration team in Deloitte. You might not be aware of this, but last year the immigration team, led by Roisin Fitzpatrick, launched an exciting programme within Deloitte Ireland.

The Development Internship Programme offers a 6-month development internship within Deloitte to an individual who has submitted their application for international protection/refugee status and is awaiting a final decision. Individuals seeking international protection/refugee status are people who are fleeing their home country because it is no longer safe for them to be there.  This could be due to a fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, membership of a particular social group or a real risk of suffering serious harm if returned to country of origin.

We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with the Irish Refugee Council on this programme as part of their ‘Integration from Day One’ project, which provides integration supports for both people seeking protection and the communities in which they are living.

Greta Keegan, Employment Officer at the Irish Refugee Council, comments: "The Integration from Day One Women's Employment Programme supports women at all points of the asylum process to access training, upskilling and professional progression opportunities. Deloitte has shown incredible vision and leadership by making opportunities for refugee professionals to commence their career trajectory in Ireland."

It was straightforward to complete the immigration process for our first intern, Sadah, to commence working with us. There were no processing times and she was able to start with us without any challenges (bar COVID-19!). We put together a learning and training plan for Sadah when she joined us, and with her input we were able develop this further into a handbook to support our future interns. It has been great to have Sadah on the team – she’s been excellent support and brought additional insight into how we work.

In January 2021 Minister Helen McEntee announced a reduced waiting time from nine months to six months for labour market access, reducing the period following which international applicants can enter the labour market. Additionally, the duration of labour market access has been extended from six months to 12 months, and can be renewed until a final decision is made on the application.

We are delighted to confirm that in our second phase of the internship programme, we have expanded the programme to have two interns – with one joining the Immigration team, and one joining our Consulting team.

 Sadah's experience on the programme

About three years ago I came to Ireland from Uganda without any family or relations - just starting over. The Irish Refugee Council was recommended to me by someone I met in the hostel in Direct Provision, and I reached out to them for support. I engaged in their programmes and the organisation became like family to me.

After I got my work permit I found it difficult to get a job. I was new to the country and I didn’t know where to start. The Irish Refugee Council, through their employment programme, gave me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which changed my life for the better.

My name is Sadah Tumusabe. I joined Deloitte as part of their pilot Development Internship Programme. My internship with Deloitte had been due to start in March 2020 but due to COVID-19, the start date was moved out to September 2020.  At one point I thought it wouldn’t be possible to go ahead with the internship, but the one thing that kept me calm and reassured was the pre-check-ins from Roisin and Danielle. The check-ins could be about my wellbeing during the pandemic, or sharing learning tools to give me the skills for the work I would be undertaking during my internship. This reassured me that I was definitely part of this amazing team and indeed, I felt welcome.

My nerves kept kicking in because I had no background at all in corporate immigration. I kept wondering what it would be like working in this environment and I had so many questions. Working from home was also going to be a requirement because of the pandemic and I was going to miss the office experience. I worried whether the team would be satisfied with my work - however I put my fears aside and counted my blessings, this was going to be a huge opportunity.  For me, it was a dream come true.

My progress meetings with my team leaders, Deirdre and Róisín, kept me going and offered me support. I felt free to ask questions about the projects, organising my outlook and prioritisation. From day one, I was told ‘no question is stupid’ and that’s how I found the confidence to ask my questions and made the coffee catch-ups useful and supportive.

Confidence was a major issue for me. One challenge I overcame was presenting to the team on my internship.  I slowly developed my confidence in communicating with different managers, team members and across other Deloitte offices. I overcame my fears and realised that I was in fact able to succeed in this.

The trainings and e-learnings were an excellent resource and helped me prepare for my role. Being part of the team meetings and my involvement with different projects and briefing calls with clients was also great. It helped to learn the professional way the team supported the clients - always remaining calm and collected, even when answering multiple questions.  

Working with Deloitte has widened my knowledge and understanding of the Immigration process. I had the opportunity to work with Fabrizia on my team to deliver a global project called the GoWork COVID-19 Map, supporting companies and their employees with up-to-date information on travel, quarantine and immigration restrictions during COVID-19.

The supporting skills I learnt during the internship included communicating with people within a professional setting, making connections, learning to take feedback, working independently and prioritising tasks. These skills are very valuable for me for my future roles. Moving forward, I am more equipped now than when I started my internship. The skills I’ve gained are invaluable and I am so thankful for this opportunity.

I have gained a sense of professionalism and clear view of how to work in a professional world. This experience has made an enormous impact on my life and I am looking forward to the future and more doors opening for me.

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