Migrants and refugees need access to quality English language training as part of their resettlement and integration process. Depending on the country and the context, this may be offered as part of their orientation programme or it may follow their arrival. In Australia, for example, the “Adult Migrant English Program” (AMEP) and equivalent courses help eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants with low English levels to improve their English language skills and settle into Australia.
Offering language training to resettled refugees can help them adjust and reintegrate more quickly, while also helping them develop skills that they will need in their new society. This includes communication, understanding the local culture and learning about the health care system, government programs, education and social services.
Some governments offer migrant and refugee language classes at their schools, colleges or other adult education facilities. These can be full-time or part-time, in daytime or evening sessions. Some of these classes are held at a community centre, where participants can also get child care and transportation assistance.
The most effective language training for migrants is a combination of structured learning activities and informal opportunities to practice. These include on-line instruction, home tutor schemes and other flexible learning options.
For adults resettling to an area where they do not speak the language, a basic level of English can be learned through the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). These courses provide ESOL and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) classes to assist those with limited skills in the language.
A key aspect of these courses is that they are designed to improve a student’s skills in all skill areas, which can be essential for employment and further education. Courses are delivered in English by qualified instructors and can range from beginner to advanced levels.
Many migrant and refugee students have limited financial resources, the cost of migration, housing, travel and expenses related to interstate removalists can stretch budgets, so the cost of these courses can be prohibitive for them. This is why the AMEP is a free service to eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants who hold a permanent visa or an eligible temporary visa and to Australian citizens who previously held a permanent visa. For a list of Providers, click here.
Volunteer Tutor Scheme
The Volunteer Tutor Scheme is designed to support migrants and refugees who cannot attend AMEP classes and need a little extra help. Anyone with an interest in linguistics and education can be a volunteer tutor for the AMEP Program.
Tutors are trained to teach specific subjects and are encouraged to develop their own curriculum, based on the needs of the students they serve. This helps to ensure the classes meet the language needs of the students, while ensuring the tutors have the tools they need to teach the classes effectively.
Retail-Contextualized English for Workers
The Forum has partnered with organizations like Walmart and the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education to create industry-contextualized English training to increase workplace language proficiency. These skills can have a lasting impact on career mobility, which is crucial for businesses and communities.