Blogs (Media Centre)

Hand of hope: TAFE NSW building skills to change lives

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

Hand of hope: TAFE NSW building skills to change lives

HOPE FLOATS: Yazidi refugee Oday Rashed has used his TAFE NSW qualifications to land a job as an apprentice welder.

3 September, 2019

Five years ago, in the dead of night, Oday Rashed packed up his family’s meagre possessions and fled the only place he had ever called home.

As terrorist group ISIS waged a genocidal war against the Yazidi people in and around Mosul, Northern Iraq, Mr Rashed made the heart-wrenching decision to move his wife and four children to a refugee camp in Turkey.

Three years on and Mr Rashed has found a new home in Wagga Wagga, part of a wave of recent Yazidi arrivals to the Riverina city.

And thanks to TAFE NSW, Mr Rashed now has a rewarding job and a swag of qualifications under his belt, testament to the power of education to transform lives.

After completing a Certificate I and II in Written and Spoken English as part of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), the 46-year-old gained the knowledge and confidence to enrol in a short course in welding, a Statement of Attainment in Introductory Engineering.

Weeks after completing it, he landed a job as an apprentice welder at Wagga company Flip Screen, which manufactures innovative screening “buckets” for a range of industries, including agriculture.

The screening attachments, which can be fitted to excavators, skid steers and other machines, rotate and flip contents over to be reprocessed, quickly separating large items from small.

Mr Rashed is now enrolled in a Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade and is using it as a springboard to becoming a qualified metal fabricator..

“When I first came to Australia I could only speak a few words of English and so I went to TAFE NSW straight away,” Mr Rashed said.

“The teachers helped so much and taught us about the language and the Australian culture.

“I really wanted to work to support my family but I knew in Australia, you need a qualification.

“I’m so happy now – I have qualifications and I have a job with a good company that makes important things for Australia and the world.”

Flip Screen managing director Sam Turnbull said the company had three TAFE NSW apprentices and nine different nationalities among its staff.

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) provides up to 510 hours of English language tuition to eligible migrants to help them learn foundation English language and settlement skills to enable them to participate socially and economically in Australian society.

To find out more about studying an AMEP course at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit

Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.