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TAFE NSW migrant students master water safety skills

TAFE NSW migrant students master water safety skills

The TAFE NSW Adult Migrant English Program is teaching vital water safety skills to the Ezidi migrant community in Armidale through a partnership with the University of New England’s Driving Social Inclusion through Sport and Physical Activity program led by Dr Kristy O’Neill and Professor Pep Baker.

Over 600 refugees have been resettled in Armidale since 2018, and programs such as these help to increase the social participation and personal wellbeing of community members.

Ben Parsons, TAFE NSW Head Teacher for General Education, said the project funded a recent excursion to Coffs Harbour which saw 15 Adult Migrant English students visit the beach for the first time.

“Our excursion to the beach was a great way for the students to put some of their English language skills into practice by listening to and communicating with the Surf Life Savers, as well as reading and interpreting water safety signage.

“Some of our students have never seen the beach before so it was a great opportunity for them to experience a popular Australian past time and learn about the skills that will keep them safe on our beaches,” Mr Parsons said.

“The day involved a ‘dry’ lesson with the Coffs Harbour Lifeguards where they learnt about water safety, the role of lifesavers, hazards on the beach and water, identifying rips and swimming between the flags.

“Then they had the chance to actually get in the water and put their new skills and knowledge into practice doing survival floats, dolphin diving under waves, and swimming in the challenging surf conditions.”

The TAFE NSW Adult Migrant English Program plays an important role in the resettlement of Ezidi refugees in the Armidale area by helping to build the English language skills they need to successfully navigate their new community.

TAFE NSW student Huriya Mamo said the knowledge she learned at the beach will help to ensure both she and her children are safe in and around the water.

“It was great to have the day together at the beach, meet the life savers and learn how to be safe in between the flags,” Ms Mamo said.

The Driving Social Inclusion through Sport and Physical Activity program was funded by the Australian Department of Health to promote broader settlement in the Australian community through physical activity. The Adult Migrant English Program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. For more information on the program visit

Media contact: Katie Hitchcock, Communications Specialist,, 02 7920 5000.