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TAFE NSW Student with big dreams for life in Coffs Harbour

TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour

TAFE NSW Student with big dreams for life in Coffs Harbour

TAFE NSW student Ko Zaw Min with his family

TAFE NSW student Ko Zaw Min’s journey started in Myanmar, Shan State, where he left to find sanctuary from the war in 2010.

He moved to Malaysia and found a job washing dishes at a restaurant for 18 hours a day. It was in Malaysia that he met his wife and had two sons. His boss taught him to cook and over the years, he worked his way up to head chef of the restaurant.

Ko Zaw Min was told he would be relocated by the United Nations to Australia with his family and he was over the moon when he heard from his friends and his boss what a great country Australia is.

Upon arrival in 2018, Ko Zaw Min enrolled at TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour to learn English via the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). The program covers language and literacy training, as well as life skills such as how to open a bank account, access healthcare or find a job in Australia.

Ko Saw Min completed this program and is currently studying Certificate II in Spoken and Written English and has also completed a Certificate II in Hospitality and a Responsible Service of Alcohol certification.

“When my family and I arrived at the airport in Australia, I was so afraid to speak to anyone because I could not communicate. We were so hungry and I could not order fish and chips for my family.

“Now I have been studying for one year. TAFE NSW teaches very well. My friends tell me all the time my English is improving so much.”

Ko Zaw Min now works in a local Ethiopian restaurant in Coffs Harbour and he has dreams of opening his own restaurant one day.

“TAFE NSW is very good for my future. I have big ambitions and I know TAFE NSW will help me with them. It’s good for my life and my family,” he said.

Adult Migrant English Program Regional Coordinator, Kylie Warner said Ko Zaw Min is a conscientious student who engages in the community and has a positive outlook on life.

“Ko Zaw Min gets as much as he can out of life and it is inspiring to witness. He has made excellent progress at TAFE NSW and he has managed to move beyond his past.”

The TAFE NSW Volunteer Tutor Program relies on volunteers from the community to assist with English language tuition and practice for 1- 2 hours per week to migrants and refugees who are eligible for the AMEP. Members of the community who are interested in volunteering their time to assist migrants, should contact TAFE NSW.

For more information about the Adult Migrant English Program, visit


Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Media Officer,