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TAFE NSW and Core Community Group’s new sewing class are the reel thing

TAFE NSW and Core Community Group’s new sewing class are the reel thing

Learning to sew is a skill not all people have, but it is a skill that can be valuable for those who want to make their own clothing or fix garments. For a group of refugees and migrants living in Fairfield, it is a skill that they are now learning, thanks, to a new community program.

TAFE NSW Macquarie Fields, in conjunction with Core Community Group, recently delivered three units of the Certificate II in Applied Fashion Design and Technology to a group of migrant and refugee women.

The new sewing classes are the result of Cabra-Vale Digger’s Generational Leaders program, which saw women 15 to 22 years take part in a series of workshops to develop ideas on how they could make a contribution that would positively impact their local community. The successful idea received $5,000 in funding from Cabra-Vale Diggers to bring the concept to life.

The winning idea was the sewing workshop with Core Community Group, which was pitched by local high school students who were mentored by Rowena Asaad, Women’s Settlement Worker, Core Community Services.

The 10-week refugee support program comprised of a sewing workshop for young women aged 18-130 years. The workshop aimed to help the women to develop their English language skills, build friendships, gain independence and create social networks.

Rowena Asaad said, “I have worked in partnership with TAFE NSW for the past eight years and this is the first time we have held sewing classes for refugee and migrant women, it’s exciting to be able to offer a new opportunity and program for our clients.

“The workshops have been a great opportunity for the women to learn new skills or brush up on existing skills while they learn in an environment that is familiar to them with likeminded women.

“The classes are also empowering for these women. Many have moved to Australia from Iraq and Syria escaping hardship or war, the classes are a way for them to settle into their new community.”

TAFE NSW Macquarie Fields, Head Teacher for Fashion Fiona Lloyd said, “We’re excited and thrilled to be partnering with Core Community Group to run the sewing classes. It has been extremely rewarding seeing the women learn some new skills while also growing in confidence at the same time. A big thank you to TAFE NSW Cultural and Linguistics Coordinator Eva Atkins who has worked tirelessly with Rowena on the project.

“Our first workshop had 12 students and we now have a waiting list for the next one. It has been fantastic that the program has been so well received in the community, we’re really looking forward to running more of these classes.”

TAFE NSW Macquarie Fields provided the classrooms, teachers and materials for the sewing classes, which were, conducted onsite at Core Community Group. Over the duration of the course, the students learnt how to produce a simple garment, how to use a sewing machine and how to work safely.

To learn more about studying fashion at visit or phone 131 601