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TAFE NSW lands Syrian refugee a career in engineering

TAFE NSW Mount Druitt

TAFE NSW lands Syrian refugee a career in engineering

When Greystanes local Christeen Salloum came to Australia as a refugee from Lebanon, she chose to study at TAFE NSW because her friends said it was the best option to build on her existing skills in engineering and overcome any language barriers.

After three years in Australia, Christeen has landed her dream job as an engineering draftsperson for a mechanical engineering company.

“The career advisor at TAFE NSW was great because right from the start they helped me explore my options before deciding on a Certificate IV in Engineering Drafting,” said Christeen.

Christeen had already completed a Bachelor of Mechatronic Engineering in her home country but found it hard to get a job without prior experience in the industry.

“My Bachelor was a combination of designing the models and writing the code to program devices. I preferred working with 3D and 2D models, which the course at TAFE NSW was perfect for.

“With English as my second language, my teacher Matthew was really supportive. He helped me learn the jargon that relates to my field and overcome any language barriers.”

Christeen is fulfilling a growing need for more females in the engineering industry, with females making up only 13% of the workforce in 2016[1].

TAFE NSW Engineering Drafting Teacher Matthew Snape said Christeen was a testament to the quality of training TAFE NSW provides in preparing students for a career in their chosen field.

“I think learning how to use Advanced Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D modelling was relatively easy for Christeen because of her technical background, but she needed help understanding the jargon and industry standards that are used in Australia.

“She’s an example of someone who comes to TAFE NSW to develop their knowledge further and hone their skills in a particular area – in this case engineering.

“TAFE NSW also offers a lot of services and support to help people improve their English and learn about Australian society and culture,” said Matthew.

Christine is enjoying her job at Keith Engineering and has plans to learn more in the future.

“This career is a great start and I'm learning a lot about the equipment I'm using. I really want to go further in this field and expand my skills to do more.”

The Certificate IV in Engineering is a fully government-subsidised JobTrainer course. To enquire about Engineering courses at TAFE NSW courses visit or call 131 601

Media contact: Tim Madin, Senior Communications Manager

[1] The Engineering Profession: A Statistical Overview, Engineers Australia, 2019.