Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
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News from AMES Australia

27 April 20210 comments

Skills minister launches AMES digital literacy program

Victoria’s Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney recently visited AMES Australia’s Werribee site to meet teachers and students and see the Digital Literacy pre-course in action.

AMES Digital Literacy pre-course is a new communication program that is helping migrants and refugees improve their language and digital skills in preparation for further study or gaining meaningful jobs.

It began at AMES in March to provide participants with a solid foundation to use emails and services like myGov, search for jobs, create strong passwords and understand cyber safety.

AMES CEO Cath Scarth welcomed the minister to the event, which was also a celebration of AMES Australia’s 70 years of service.

“AMES is thrilled to be supporting Victoria’s multicultural community and refugees to improve their skills as well as access services, information and employment opportunities,” Cath said.

AMES Senior Manager Digital Engagement Craig Snelling told the gathering that the Digital Literacy pre-course was started in response to the online transition of programs during the coronavirus pandemic and because many AMES clients had not used a computer or smart phone before arriving in Australia.

He said it was co-designed by people who were refugees and asylum seekers for migrants from places like Syria and Iraq, Burma, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Venezuela.

AMES student Neten Tshering arrived from Bhutan and lives in Diggers Rest with his family and joined the program to improve his English with the hopes of securing a job in the local community.

Korean student Myeongju Jeong moved to Australia nine ago and works as a chef at a CBD restaurant. He wants to improve his English to make new friends and progress his career.

Minister Tierney told the gathering: “This is an important program that will ensure no Victorian is left behind – and that people from CALD communities have the support to improve their communication skills, enter the workforce, and live their best lives.”


IPP supports young refugee to find first job

AMES Australia’s Individualised Pathway Program (IPP) has helped a young refugee jobseeker land his first job in Australia after almost a year of unemployment.

Yonaten Meles, who arrived in Australia in 2019 after fleeing the conflict in Ethiopia, has found a job as a laundry worker.

Through the IPP, Yonaten, 22, received support from the Refugee Training and Employment program which saw him benefit from Intensive mentoring about vocational opportunities and the job market.

The IPP program also saw Yonaten take part in an online 7-Eleven Retail training and information session.

Through this, he gained first hand tips from employers and interview experience and practice. Yonaten was also placed in two other employer-based training programs.

AMES Australia Senior Employment Officer Zaki Anvari said that since arriving in Australia, Yonaten had been completing English language studies.

“Yonaten had no work experience but through reverse marketing we were able to help him obtain his first job in Australia where he is continuing to work,” Zaki said.

He is now a laundry worker at AWX in Sunbury, in Melbourne’s west. 

“We are continuing to support Yonaten with things like personal protective equipment and helping him overcome social, cultural or other barriers to work,” he said. 

Yonaten said he was very happy to have a job and to be earning money.

“I hope move to into a trade job such as carpentry in the future but it is good to be working,” he said.

The Individualised Pathway Plan (IPP) is an innovative new program fast-tracking refugee and migrant jobseekers into work while also speeding up their settlement journeys and supporting them to build connections into the broader society.

The IPP program provides a wrap-around service that sees the settlement, education and employment service offerings brought together to make refugee and migrant settlement journeys faster and better.

The IPP team members work with refugees and migrants to identify their goals and aspirations and then put in place strategies and pathways to achieving these aspirations.


New AMES podcasts help migrant, refugee settlement journeys

AMES Australia’s Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) team have created a series of podcasts in multiple languages that offer information to clients on a variety of topics related to their settlement journey.

They will be provided to clients in hotel quarantine and cover subjects including: driving licences and laws, childcare and kindergarten; Victoria’s justice system; AMEP and language schools for children, access to health services and fire safety.

More podcasts on a range of other topics are in the process of being developed with the intention of enhancing clients’ orientation and settlement in a new country.

Produced by AMES Australia Orientation Coordinator Mirta Saponja and AMES Coordinator Service Delivery Anthony Ferretto, with other AMES staff providing translations, the podcasts could be useful to other areas of AMES’ service delivery.

See an example of one of the podcasts here:


AMES Mildura site officially opens

AMES Australia officially opened a new site in Mildura last week.

Although the site has been up and running for about a year, COVID restrictions meant that a launch event could not occur until this month.

The site, in Langtree Avenue, was officially opened by the local federal member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster. The mayor of Mildura, Cr Jason Modica also spoke at the event.

AMES Australia client and newly minted volunteer Hussain Hussain told the gathering of his journey as a refugee from Syria and how his English had improved thanks to the work AMES’ Mildura teaching staff.

Hussain also shared his dream of working in community development and supporting refugees who will follow his path to Australia.

The attendees were also treated to some amazing traditional songs from Burundian and Congolese artists. 

AMES CEO Cath Scarth said the organisation was pleased and honoured to be delivering a suite of services for new refugee and migrants in Mildura to support them to settle in the town and become part of the broader community.

“We know that Mildura has a long and proud history of welcoming newcomers from across the globe. And we at AMES Australia are delighted to be able to make a contribution to social cohesion and diversity in this city,” Cath said.

“We see great benefits in this for the families settling because they can find good jobs, educational pathways, welcoming communities and great lifestyles,” she said.

“But we also see benefits for the host communities which are culturally enriched by a more diverse populations. There are also economic benefits in the form of a larger labour force and a population injections,” Cath said.



Womens’ walk cements AMES, Parks Victoria relationship

AMES Australia, in partnership with Parks Victoria, held an International Women’s Day Welcome Walk at Lysterfield Park, Melbourne’s south east recently.

The walk, led by a woman ranger from Parks Victoria, saw a group of AMES Australia and PV staff, multicultural volunteers and clients brave rain and chilly weather to complete the short trek.

Also on the walk were AMES CEO Cath Scarth and the former Minister for Multicultural Affairs and current Parks Victoria Chair John Pandazopolous.

The walk was part of an ongoing relationship between AMES Australia and Parks Victoria aimed at facilitating greater access to Victoria’s parks for people from multicultural communities.

Cath said the event was a great success despite the weather.

“Everyone enjoyed it; and it was a great opportunity to meet people and enjoy one of Melbourne’s amazing parks,’ she said.​

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is ‘choose to challenge’.

“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day,” the IWD organisers say in a statement.

“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world,” they say.