The Lucky Country

ACL provide training and job placements for skilled and unskilled migrants. Due to the skills shortage, it is necessary to get skilled workers into the workforce, however it is also important to ensure that they are prepared for work in this country and possess an acceptable level of English. Thus, skilled migrants are an important addition to Australia's work force, provided they can assimilate through functional language and understanding of Australian work culture.

About the program which is providing migrants with skills...

The main program ACL provide is the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), a consortium which has provided English language tuition and support to migrants and refugees since 1998, enrolling over 89,000 participants. Learning options offered by the AMEP include college and community-based tuition, multi-media and Individual Learning Centres, distance learning and home tutoring. Learners have access to onsite or locally-based childcare, counselling and referral support, and a range of other settlement services. The AMEP is an Australian education and settlement program for newly arrived migrants and refugees. As the only language program of its kind in the world, it is hailed internationally for its contribution towards the successful settlement of migrants and refugees. AMEP is administered by the Australian Government's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), and is delivered throughout Australia by various providers. Under the program, eligible migrants and refugees are provided with reading, writing, speaking and listening skills to a level of 'functional' English, that is, to a level that will assist each client to settle satisfactorily and improve their chances of finding a job in Australia. All clients have less than functional grasp of the English language, this is a requirement for entry. These skills are based on the nationally accredited Certificates in Spoken and Written English - a competency-based curriculum framework specially developed for the AMEP. Clients also receive information on the Australian way of life and advice on accessing essential services.

In this feature, clients undergo language tuition in a large classroom while Michael Cox, ACL Government Programs General Manager, talks to us about the programs on offer at ACL. We also have Shanan Hassan, a Case Coordinator, who arrived in Australia 5 years ago as a refugee fleeing the civil war in his homeland of Sudan, Africa. Whilst participating in the ACL program he was identified as a strong and valuable worker and consequently offered a position within ACL. Shanan has been working within the Blacktown community, assisting people with settlement on arrival in Australia. Also, we speak to Niyanta Patel, 27-year old AMEP student who originates from India, about the kinds of skills that the program develops e.g. resume writing and interview techniques, and what she and other students hope to do once they have finished training.

VJ Rodney Meier