Crash course in Aussie way a ripper idea for migrants
ENROLMENTS in a course which aims to give migrants and refugees the key language and culture skills required to start their career paths in Australia will be doubled next semester because of its success to date.
Migrants and refugees can find it difficult to develop their careers and compete in the labour market because they are faced with the added challenge of trying to fit in and understand South Australian workplaces.
But formal training programs are helping to bridge the gap and give them the confidence and skills to go on to further study so they can start a career.
Places in TAFE SA’s Diploma of English Proficiency will be doubled from 20 to 40 next semester.
The Diploma or preceding Certificate IV can give job hunters from overseas basic skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.
TAFE SA spokeswoman Julia Pitman says the courses aim to educate migrants about the subtleties and nuances of Australian culture and teach them how to use it to further their careers.
‘‘That is one of the things which is most problematic for people new to Australia – when they come into the workplace, when they finally get a job – because they just don’t know the Australian culture sufficiently to fit in and similarly at university,’’ she says.
Migrant students looking to go to university in South Australia need a minimum International Second Language Proficiency Rating (ISLPR) of three and the Diploma of English Proficiency educates students to an ISLPR of four.
A native speaker is considered to have an ISLPR of five.
The Diploma of English Proficiency’s higher rating also provides a pathway for qualified migrant teachers to register with the Teachers Registration Board, which requires applicants to have an ISLPR of four.
‘‘The course has a very strong emphasis on critical literacy so it gives the students not only the grammar but the attack skills so that when they get to university they are able to analyse questions and answer essay topics appropriately and do the research that is required,’’ Ms Pitman says.
‘‘We have had over the years a large number from a similar background who have gone to university without this course and drop out because they’ve not been able to manage the critical literacy side of university.’’
South Korean Michelle Choi, 46, says the Certificate IV in English Proficiency gave her the confidence to go on to study a Diploma of Banking.
‘‘It was very useful because I was a banker in my country for 17 years but when I moved here I found that all the financial background was totally different,’’ she says.
‘‘It’s a very important course and really helped me understand the culture over here and helped me with my financial studies.’’ Despite the course being challenging, Ms Choi says it was invaluable and helped prepare her for life in the Australian workforce.
There are 20 full-time students enrolled in the six-month Diploma of English Proficiency each semester, as well as a further 20 students studying t he course part-time.
‘‘Of the 19 semester two 2010 graduates, six went on to further study at university, seven stayed in TAFE, three did short courses and three gained employment, so they all had outcomes,’’ Ms Pitman says.
TAFE student Michelle Choi, with lecturer Alison Banks, takes part in a new program that teaches English and the Australian way of life to migrants.