Meet Yohannes! 

Yohannes Melak Habte is our dedicated cleaner and gardener at Witton Barracks. This is his first job in Australia. 

Originally from Eritrea, Yohannes arrived in Australia in 2022 as a refugee, having previously lived in Sudan and Ethiopia. He now resides in Marsden with his family. 

Before coming to Australia, Yohannes worked in civil construction. However, the father-of-six struggled to find work when he arrived in this country. 

“Even though vacancies are many in Australia, it is still hard to find a job,” he said. 

“The main challenge I faced was adapting to the Australian lifestyle and understanding the Aussi accent.” 

He is not alone in this. Just 6% of refugees are employed within six months of their arrival in Australia due to language barriers, lack of local work experience, and difficulties in having their skills recognised. It is one of the things White Box Enterprises is trying to combat. 

Yohannes says he is happy to be working for White Box Enterprises at Witton Barracks. 

“Here at White Box, I am working as a cleaner and gardener. What I like about my job is that I am fulfilling my duties for everyone’s wellbeing and creating a clean environment where everyone feels comfortable,” he says. 

Recalling his first day on the job, Yohannes says he was surprised to find himself at an all-staff meeting, but he was pleased by the warm welcome. 

“This experience was unique for me. They greeted me as their co-worker, which I haven’t ever felt before. That made me feel happy and included in Australian society.” 

Outside of work, Yohannes, a devout Christian, spends his time cleaning and reading his Bible. 

He says his happiness comes from seeing others happy. 

Reflecting on the year ahead he says: “This year my aim is securing a permanent job and paving the way for a better future for my family.” 

Yohannes Melak Habte cleaning the Witton office wearing a hi-viz orange workshirt