Migrants who have moved to the Bega Valley and want to improve their English skills can do so thanks to an online TAFE course.
In June last year, MAX Solutions ceased to offer the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) face-to-face in Bega, citing low numbers as the reason for its closure.
The AMEP is a voluntary program available to all eligible permanent visa holders, 18 years of age or over, who do not have a functional level of English language proficiency, as well as some temporary visa holders.
In November, the Bega District News reported a concern about the lack of such a course in the Bega Valley was that it could drive migrants away from the region and into metropolitan areas.
On Wednesday, February 6, TAFE AMEP regional coordinator distance learning Tania Dexter visited the Migrant Activities Group In Community (MAGIC) in Bega to inform migrants about the opportunity to study English online for free.
Over distance learning, students receive a one hour lesson over Skype or telephone with a teacher per week.
Then there is iSee, a virtual classroom where the student is guided by a teacher and works with other students, also for one hour each week.
Also, there is a volunteer tutor program where students meet a tutor in the Bega Valley for face-to-face practice.
The aim of the course was to support migrants in Bega, Ms Dexter said.
“We can fill that hole that MAX [Solutions] has left,” she said.
One of the migrants at the MAGIC meeting was Laisly Brito from Brazil, who arrived in Tathra one-and-a-half months ago and said distance learning was perfect for her.
“I will have my baby in three or four weeks,” she said.
“I think it could be good in the beginning, because I can’t leave my house.
“I don’t need to stop studying because I can do it at home.
“If I want to get a good job, I need to improve [my English].”
Mai and Toan Nguyen are originally from Vietnam, where they were a chef and a carpenter respectively, but moved to Tathra in December.
Ms Nguyen wanted to learn more English for her job and to improve her communication, while her husband wanted to learn the language so he could talk to people, and both though distance learning was a great idea.
“Now a lot of people like me can learn online,” she said.
For more information on the course email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 1300 362 418 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au and search for “AMEP distance learning”.