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Asylum seeker training program welcomed

1 September 20160 comments

Migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia welcomes the decision by the Victorian Government to include refugees and asylum seekers in Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs.

Victoria currently hosts around 11,000 refugees and asylum seekers with either bridging visa or temporary protection visa status.

AMES Chief Executive officer Cath Scarth said that having greater access to training would give many asylum seekers the opportunity to improve their circumstances.

“We know that most refugees and asylum seekers want to study and want work and we know they want to contribute to the community,” Ms Scarth said.

“This initiative will give many refugees and asylum seekers their first opportunity to study in Australia and the chance to improve their skills and qualifications,” she said.

“For many it will mean ultimately getting their first job in Australia or getting a better job.

“And for most, being able to study can only improve their health and wellbeing,” Ms Scarth said.

Victoria’s Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert announced that over the next two years, $15 million will be spent to open up the Asylum Seeker VET Program to 3000 asylum seekers and for the first time, to refugees with temporary protection visas.

Customised language and literacy programs will also be offered to participants to improve their reading and writing skills.

Afghan asylum seeker Obaidullah Mehak said he was delighted at the news and would be eager to take up any opportunities to undertake study.

Mr Mehak, who fled his homeland after being targeted by the Taliban, trained as a lawyer but his qualifications are not recognized in Australia.

“I would very much appreciate the opportunity to study in Australia and to improve my skills, qualifications and employability,” Mr Mehak said.

“I want to be able to work and to contribute to this society which has given me a safe refuge,” he said.

AMES Australia is the leading provider of humanitarian settlement, education, training and employment services to refugees, asylum seekers and newly arrived migrants in Australia.

For images, interviews and more information please contact AMES Australia Media Advisor, Laurie Nowell at on 03 9938 4031 or 0498 196 500.