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New report from CEDA calls for an increase in english language training

2 min read

Migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia has welcomed a new report from CEDA calling for an increase in skilled migrants access to English-language training and better recognising their international qualifications and work experience to tackle persistent skills shortages and boost productivity. 

The report points out that while there is public debate around the current size of Australia’s migration program, we are still facing skills shortages in key industries. 

At the same time we are not making the most of the skills of migrants already in the country, the report says. 

It says recent migrants earn significantly less than Australian-born workers and weaker English skills and lack of skills recognition are preventing us from making the most of migrants’ skills and experience, with discrimination likely also having an impact. 

AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth said that better utilising migrants’ and refugees’ skills presented an economic opportunity for Australia. 

“We at AMES Australia know from working with newly arrived migrants and refugees that they face significant barriers in re-establishing their professional careers,” said Scarth. 

“It’s not just language and skills recognition. There are also issues around migrants having a lack of local experience, navigating the job market and Australian workplace culture and a lack of professional networks,” she said 

“But there are solutions to this,” she said. 

AMES Australia runs a program called the Skilled Professional Migrant Program (SPMP), which equips newly arrived migrants and refugees for work in Australia and is succeeding in helping get them into jobs that fit their qualifications and experience. 

The intensive four-week course introduces professional migrants to Australian workplace culture and job-seeking techniques. Participants receive advice about professional interviews and resume writing as well as insights into Australian workplace culture, professional mentoring and networking opportunities within their industries. 

It also provides advice on qualification recognition and referrals to language acquisition opportunities. 

A recent evaluation of the program found that 80 per cent of participants had found work aligned with their qualifications within a year. 

Indian skilled migrant Bharat Guturi secured a job as a structural engineer after completing the SPMP program. Bharat arrived in Australia in 2020 and struggled at first to find work in his profession.  

After competing an SPMP course, he was able to get a job as a Structural and Forensic Engineer with Intrax Consulting Engineers. “The SPMP was very helpful, even though the online classes because of COVID were difficult,” Mr Guturi said. 

Vietnamese skilled migrant Cindy Nguyen obtained a job as a Finance Analyst with the Victorian Department of Jobs and Precincts just two months after completing an SPMP course. 

Nguyen arrived from Vietnam in 2001 as a 17-year-old and studied finance at University but struggled to find a job afterwards. She said the SPMP course made the difference in her being able to launch her career. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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