Mi­grants break through lan­guage bar­rier


Any uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate will tell you how dif­fi­cult it can be to find a job in to­day’s work­force.

For mi­grants and sec­ond lan­guage speak­ers new to New Zealand, the dif­fi­cul­ties are much greater.

English Lan­guage Part­ners New Zealand is try­ing to make the tran­si­tion eas­ier.

Work Talk is its new work­shop de­signed to equip mi­grants with es­sen­tial job seek­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.

Lessons cover read­ing job de­scrip­tions, learn­ing work cul­ture and con­duct­ing in­ter­views.

Hong Pan, known as Janie, was a mem­ber of the in­au­gu­ral work­shop at English Learn­ing Part­ner’s Taka­puna branch.

Pan moved to Al­bany from China with a master’s de­gree in soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing, along­side 10 years of work­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Seven months of un­suc­cess­ful in­ter­views left her feel­ing de­pressed and she la­belled her­self a fail­ure.

‘‘I passed the tech­ni­cal ex­am­i­na­tions eas­ily, but I was too ner­vous to try and an­swer ques­tions in the in­ter­view,’’ Pan says.

‘‘I was frus­trated be­cause I have the knowl­edge, but I can’t ex­press my­self.

‘‘I knew then I had to learn bet­ter English if I wanted to get a job.’’

Pan is not unique in her sit­u­a­tion.

Mi­grant Skills Re­ten­tion man­ager Grant Power says mi­grants are ‘‘more likely to be highly

‘‘I had to learn bet­ter English if I wanted to get a job.’’

Hong Pan

qual­i­fied than the New Zealand born pop­u­la­tion’’.

Ac­cord­ing to Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand, cur­rent trends shows Auck­land is wel­com­ing highly qual­i­fied mi­grants.

The per­cent­age of over­seas born peo­ple liv­ing in Auck­land with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree or higher is 29 per cent, slightly higher to 21 per cent of Kiwi born Auck­lan­ders.

It also states that Auck­land’s econ­omy will con­tinue to rely on off­shore skills.

English Lan­guage Part­ners man­ager Ma­bel Msopero says mi­grants should be able to pur­sue work for them­selves and their fam­i­lies.

‘‘We help progress them through the whole sys­tem from ev­ery­day English, to work talk, to af­ter care help,’’ Msopero says.

Hong Pan was one of the first pupils at a new work­shop de­signed to help mi­grants seek­ing jobs.

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