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English Language course at TAFE NSW opens doors to careers and community

TAFE NSW Deniliquin

English Language course at TAFE NSW opens doors to careers and community

Communication skills learned at TAFE NSW have taken Deniliquin resident Elif Ozmen from being an isolated migrant, to a businesswoman and active member of the community she now calls home.

Elif’s experience is an example of how TAFE NSW is working with communities in the Riverina to improve lives through English language courses and by opening doors to employment opportunities.

The Turkish migrant, who arrived in Australia in 2013 with no English language skills said she felt isolated and frustrated by the challenges of everyday tasks such as shopping or appointments.

“Often my husband would translate for me, so I didn’t have the confidence to go out without him. Now that I can speak English, I’m not isolated, I’m out in the community meeting people,” she said.

Elif enrolled in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) at TAFE NSW Deniliquin. AMEP is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs to provide free English language classes for migrants and humanitarian entrants. The AMEP has been a lifeline for Elif and many other new migrants.

Learning English was a smart move following the Adult Literacy Inquiry, finding too many Australians are living with language and literacy gaps limiting their life choices.

“When I moved here, I needed an interpreter. Now, after a few years of study at TAFE NSW and practice with my husband, son, and people in the community I have a good understanding of English,” she said.

Elif enrolled in Certificate I, II and III Spoken and Written English, and a TAFE NSW Statement in Vocational Support and Pathways, all qualifications that improved her English skills and prepared her for work under the guidance of teacher, Amanda McCrabb.

“These TAFE NSW and AMEP courses changed my life, I have more confidence and I’m earning an income and making social connections after starting my own business.

“I make amigurumi, which is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals. I also crochet jewellery and flowers but will try crocheting anything my customers request. My business, HandmadElife is a combination of online orders through Facebook and my stalls at most markets in the area.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of my TAFE NSW teachers and the written and spoken language skills they taught me. I encourage other migrants to improve their English and expand their horizons.”

TAFE NSW Career Pathways Head Teacher Leonie Francis said there was a whole section of the community who would benefit from improved communication skills.

“There is an increasing number of new Australians who move to this region to work, either on farms or in engineering, accounting, or health and we welcome them to connect with us to improve their language skills,” Mrs Francis said.

“Elif is a shining example of how improved language skills can lead to employment, but just as important can improve a person’s social outcomes, like a stronger connection to their community.”

Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0466 375 552.