Crash course in Aussie way a ripper idea for mi­grants

The Advertiser - Careers - - Childcare Careers - TOM BOW­DEN

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.

Pic­ture: Tait Schmaal

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.

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