TAFE program helps refugees take first steps

TAFE NSW Senior Project Officer for the First Step Program Alana Perish

TAFE NSW Senior Project Officer for the First Step Program Alana Perish

The First Step Program has been expanded to give young people from newly arrived migrant and refugee backgrounds an overview of the construction, manufacturing and nursing industries in 2022.

A collaboration between JP Morgan and TAFE NSW, the part-time program offers fee free training to young people aged 15-24 years to help introduce them to vocational education.

The programs feature tuition in specialised industry language, reading, writing and maths, integrated with vocational training. Students also have access to job seeking support and connections with employers and mentors.

TAFE NSW Senior Project Officer for the First Step Program Alana Perish said newly arrived high school aged students face a "range of challenges".

"The added difficulty for newly arrived senior school aged students is that they have less time to prepare for the more academically challenging demands of the senior curriculum," said Alana, who said the new programs have been designed in consultation with young people from newly arrived migrant and refugee backgrounds, their parents and teachers.

"The difficulties these students face is compounded for those who have previous disrupted or little schooling.

"These programs will give young people from a newly arrived migrant and refugee background a taste of the industry they select and equip them with foundation skills to find work or move on to further study."

The First Step Program forms part of 3-year collaboration between J.P. Morgan and TAFE NSW which aims to support Youth of South Western Sydney into meaningful career pathways.

The programs feature tuition in specialised industry language, reading, writing, and maths, integrated with vocational training, and students have access to job seeking support and connections with employers and mentors.

Robert Bedwell, who is the chief executive of JP Morgan in Australia and New Zealand, said they have committed nearly $1 million to the First Step initiative in Australia which forms part of the three-year collaboration between JP Morgan and TAFE NSW

"And we're proud to support the expansion of the program to benefit additional sectors of the community," Mr Bedwell said.

"Our staff look forward to mentoring future young people from diverse backgrounds and providing continued support to help them get the best start in their career journeys."

This story TAFE program helps refugees take first steps first appeared on Fairfield City Champion.