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TAFE NSW English language courses boosting migrants job chances

Confidence boost: Luciana Menezes Santos moved from Brazil to Australia for work. She gained confidence in her English speaking skills by completing a TAFE NSW course.
Confidence boost: Luciana Menezes Santos moved from Brazil to Australia for work. She gained confidence in her English speaking skills by completing a TAFE NSW course.

From South America to Australia, migrant Luciana Menezes Santos had hopes of fulfilling a successful career in another country.

The Brazilian student, who lives at Cronulla, wanted to start getting her foot in the door. But she knew she needed to brush up on some language speaking skills that would give her a great head start.

Ms Santos began working part-time as a retail assistant, and also did some babysitting on the side to help make ends meet.

She stumbled upon TAFE NSW, and ended up completing a Certificate III in Spoken and Written English as part of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).

It provides free classes to help eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants with low English levels to improve their English language skills and settle into Australia. It is funded by the Department of Home Affairs.

The program is aimed at increasing confidence so students can secure full-time employment.

Research from 2017 Australian Institute of Family Studies showed that English language proficiency was a key determinant for positive social and economic outcomes for humanitarian migrants and is highly important for gaining employment.

The job seeking component of English language courses are vital in improving student self-esteem and ensuring better employment prospects.

Ms Santos gained the skills she needed to create a resume, and she was able to leave her part-time role at a retail clothing store.

"After trying for quite some time to gain full-time employment, I knew that I needed to try something different. I decided to study at TAFE NSW to improve my English language and interview skills and gain increased confidence," she said.

After completing the course, Ms Santos applied for and gained a demanding and practical customer service and sales position with an international vehicle company where she is required to use a high level of English language proficiency and undertake regular training.

TAFE NSW Foundational Studies teacher Vivien Clark said the job-seeking component of the course set students up with a solid foundation to pursue further education or gain employment.

"Students in the course gain more confidence when using English, improve their communication skills to open up additional career pathways, and achieve a sense of ease in social and formal situations," Ms Clark said.

"All students regularly receive feedback on grammar and pronunciation during the lessons and there is always discussion about settlement issues and cultural difficulties as they arise."