Young resident, Layal Chemeit is singing the praises of a TAFE NSW course that helped open doors for her to work and take part in the community she now calls home.
Layal’s experience is an example of how TAFE NSW is working with communities to improve lives by opening doors to employment opportunities.
The Lebanese immigrant who arrived in Australia with no English language skills said she felt isolated and frustrated by everyday tasks. In Lebanon, Layal spoke Arabic and French and while her Australian husband helped with her English, she said her lack of English made it difficult to help her children with homework and attend appointments.
Layal dedicated most of her 15 years in Australia to raising a family. However, as her children grew older, she decided to focus on improving her English language skills and gain some training to help her secure a job. It was a smart move on the back of the Adult Literacy Inquiry findings, released this year, finding too many Australians are living with literacy gaps limiting their life choices.
She invested time during the last three years in her own education, which she said opened doors to employment and strengthened her community connections.
“When I first arrived here, I needed an interpreter. Now after a few years of study at TAFE and practice with my husband, I have a good understanding of English,” she said.
Layal enrolled in Certificate I Spoken and Written English, and Certificate I Preparation of Work and Training, both qualifications that improved her English skills and prepared her for work. “The Certificate II in Skills for Work and Training taught me the basics of being in a workplace and gave me customer service skills. This meant I felt comfortable working with people because I had some experience,” Layal said.
“These TAFE courses changed my life, I can communicate better, I have more confidence and I’m earning an income working. I encourage other new Australians to improve their English and expand their horizons.”
TAFE NSW Career Pathways Teacher Fiona Braybrooks said there was a whole section of the community who would benefit from improved communication skills.
“Our courses cater to that section of the community; we have a mixed cohort of international and Australian students of all ages.
“These are members of our community who want to learn to read and write. They want to do the things many of us take for granted like read to their children and send an email.
“Layal is a shining example of how improved literacy and numeracy can lead to employment, but just as important can improve a person’s social outcomes, like a stronger connection to their community.”
To learn more about TAFE NSW courses visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 600.
Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0466 375 552.