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News from AMES Australia

3 June 20200 comments

AMES volunteer coaching young people in life skills

AMES Australia youth mentor volunteer Wendy Fayad says her background as an immigrant and her training as a counsellor have helped her in her work supporting young people from diverse cultures.

“I’ve been working as an AMES volunteer since 2017 helping you people who are new to this country and disengaged from education and employment find their way in life in Australia,” she said.

As part of the youth mentoring program at AMES, Wendy’s role is to help students with their problems.

“That might be anxiety or depression or maybe just deciding what they want to do in life,” Wendy said.

“I try to connect with them and encourage them to talk to me. I also help them with the English language; reading, writing and communicating,” she said.

“I try to help them work out what they want to do and, I guess, coach them in life,” she said.

Wendy has worked with three students during her time with AMES.

“One found a job in child care which made me happy – it was like bonus for me,” she said.

“A second one had no education in her own country. I have been trying to help her study or find a job. I’m trying to support her and to understand what her needs are and what’s important to her.”

Wendy said the student had approached her to say that she was struggling to study because she was living with a family that had several children.

“I helped her apply for some alternative accommodation and now she has her own room. She’s happy and able to study. She says she wants to be a nurse so I’m helping her on that pathway,” she said.

Wendy studied overseas and has Arabic reading, writing and communications skills which come in handy in supporting young people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

She also has a business degree from Victoria University and is currently studying to be a counsellor.

“I find volunteering very rewarding. It is great to see young people succeed, realise their own potential and pursue their dreams,” Wendy said.


AMES steps up with remote learning services

AMES Australia education staff have ramped up remote learning services since the beginning of Term 2 in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

AMES has delivered learning to hundreds of students each through desktop and mobile platforms and numbers are rising.  

Senior Manager Education and Employment Anne Cosentino said it was a scramble during the initial days with two short weeks over the term break to organise the remote learning arrangements.

“We had to upload appropriate online materials for students to access and to work out how to connect via Zoom,” Anne said.

“In some instances the materials we needed had yet to be developed!” she said.

“For those students without the technology to access online we had to source or develop workbooks and post these out, and we opened our Independent Learning Centres on site so that clients could access computers should they wish to venture out and join in the online delivery aspect,” Anne said.

Network Leaders responsible for the various levels of the EAL (English as an Additional Language Framework) and teachers were assigned student groups from across a range of AMES sites and they support them through daily SMS, phone calls and Skype or Zoom sessions.

The same model is also being used for delivery of AMEs Australia’s two industry entry certificates for clients wanting to work in Aged Care or Early Childhood Education.

“Now, three short weeks into this new venture, I think we have a success story. The majority of students are engaged with the new model and some even like it better than the ‘old’ classroom way of learning,” Anne said.

“We are even experiencing enquiries from new clients wanting to take up classes with us and have set up remote assessment centres to cater for this new demand. How wonderful,” she said. 

“And what a story of teamwork across the whole of organisation to get this up and running successfully – Education staff working closely with the Business Development and Innovation Manager, the Digital Engagement team’s expertise and support to develop and upload materials together with Curriculum Ambassadors, the Program and Curriculum Support  team, Compliance and Quality staff, the STRATA team, the Client Experience Manager and CAT team- a raft of people engaged across the business, all committed to make this venture a success. 

“We have still got a distance to travel with a number of challenges yet to overcome, but is feels good to say we have commenced the first leg well,” Anne said.


AMES supporting CALD disabled though COVID-19

AMES Australia is continuing to work with CALD communities to help them access disability services through the COVID-19 crisis. 

Through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) project AMES is running two peer support groups for the South Sudanese and Afghan communities.

ILC Co-ordinator Tessa Hughes said that due to COVID-19 support for these groups had to go online.

“We have been running the South Sudanese group sessions through Zoom every Wednesday. We have been providing information about COVID-19 but it is also a social group where we have fun and a chat,” Tessa said.

“We are running a Facebook group for the Afghan community. This group is for the Afghan carers or people with disability to discuss and share details about disability services and to provide information about COVID-19,” she said.