With almost 50 per cent of Australians living with literacy gaps that limit their life choices, Ukranian immigrant Luda Svalukhina is defying the odds by completing an English course at TAFE NSW Nowra to enhance her career prospects.
Ms Svalukhina escaped her war-torn homeland in the Ukraine in March 2022. Once settled in her new community one of her first steps was to enrol at TAFE NSW to gain English language skills.
It was a smart move with last year’s Adult Literacy Inquiry finding too many Australians are living with literacy gaps which limit their life choices.
Despite arriving in Australia with no English, within a few months she could easily hold a conversation in English and after a year is now working in a café.
Ms Svalukhina’s experience is an example of how TAFE NSW works with communities to improve lives by opening doors to employment opportunities.
To escape the conflict in her homeland, Ms Svalukhina had to leave behind her family and a successful 23-year career as a national sales manager in Ukraine.
“My son and my family are still in Ukraine, and I will worry about them every day until we are reunited,” she said.
“Learning English is helping me because as my language skills improve, I feel more connected to the Shoalhaven community and more confident at work.
“I like to work with people, customer service and sales are what I enjoy. My job in Ukraine was as a national sales manager. It’s a very interesting job, talking with different people.
So, in Australia speaking with people is helping my English improve every day.
Ms Svalukhina enrolled in Certificate I in Spoke and Written English at TAFE NSW Nowra and said it had “changed her 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 English Language Teacher Elisabeth Vu said there was a whole section of the community with English as a second language who would benefit from improved language and 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 reading to their children and sending an email.
“Luda is a shining example of how improved literacy and English language skills can lead to employment, but just as important can improve a person’s social outcomes, like a stronger connection to their community,” Ms Vu said.
Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0466 375 552.