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Working on wellbeing

Dr Shamika Almeida
School of Management, Operations and Marketing

Championing the wellbeing and engagement of students and employees through workplace training and education

When she arrived from Sri Lanka more than 14 years ago, Australia provided Dr Shamika Almeida and her family many opportunities to succeed both personally and professionally. The goodwill this acceptance and support generated inspires Dr Almeida to give back to her adopted home through her research and teaching.

Dr Almeida’s personal experiences are intricately connected with her academic career, which she embarked upon after working in the corporate sector.

Her research journey began with her PhD thesis on the topic of employer perceptions of skilled migrants and why employers may be hesitant to hire migrants.

“I believe this research has the potential to change the stereotypes and mindset of employers who may be unwillingly discriminating against people based on incongruence with their own personal socio-cultural background,” Dr Almeida says.

With the support of the internship team, in her role as the subject coordinator of the Faculty of Business’s undergraduate internship program, Dr Almeida helps to nurture student interns to be resourceful, use their personal strengths, be innovative, and become responsible stakeholders in the workforce. The internship program also aims to generate better graduate employment outcomes and cater to the unique needs of UOW’s regional students including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, lower socio-economic status (SES) students and international students.

She highlights the internship team’s collaboration with the Accor Hotel Group and Claim Central Pty Ltd. over the past few years as prime examples of how internships have become an excellent opportunity for these organisations to source new talent.

By working within organisations through workshops and seminars, such as a recent program at Claim Central, on understanding personal strengths and aligning strengths for increased engagement at work, Dr Almeida supports organisational change in the real-world.

Dr Almeida is also collaborating with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District to support wellbeing and resilience of their healthcare workers. For example, Dr Almeida is a core team member of the IMAGINE team who conducted a ‘Wellness Wednesday’ program at Bulli hospital for two cohorts this year.

Overall, the participants of the Wellness Wednesday program note that they learnt to appreciate the importance of self-care, become more connected and built positive relationships with their peers, experienced personal growth and were able to share their learning with others.