AMEP launches in Alice Springs

In a great win for the community and thanks to local migrant services advocate,  Alice Springs will now have free English language classes for migrants and humanitarian entrants as they begin their pathway to settlement in regional Australia.

Multicultural Community Services of Central Australia manager Marguerite Baptiste-Rooke said being able to communicate with other people is high on the list of critical needs of the immigrants settling into life in Australia.

“For the migrants and refugees that arrive to Alice Springs, the most vital need is to learn English language skills in a face-to-face learning environment,” Marguerite said.

“Basic English language skills are fundamental, you cannot do anything without basic language skills, you can’t communicate with your neighbours, the community, and you can’t get work.

“To have the three E’s of English, Education and Employment is vital to settlement in Australia, so that people are not disadvantaged.

Marguerite has fought for many years to secure the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) in Alice Springs and replace the current distance education program which Marguerite said has not been a suitable solution for the migrant community’s needs.

“Our migrants are isolated in their home in the some of the most remote areas of the country and they can’t learn English on a laptop via distance education if they don’t have any English skills,” Marguerite said.

STEPS Education and Training have jumped on board to roll out free English classes through the AMEP providing flexible day and night classes to suit student work and family schedules.

STEPS Alice Springs business manager Philip Allnutt said teaching migrants English not only provides language skills that help them settle into life and work in Australia, it also provides a vital social aspect that helps build their community and forms friendships that provide a sense of belonging.

“Our AMEP classes teach language skills that will help migrants settle successfully in Australia with people of similar backgrounds, experiences and goals, they learn about Australian values, cultures, laws, and a range of topics to make it easier to work, study and enjoy life in Australia,” Philip said.

Philip and Margeurite look forward to welcoming new students to classes starting soon and welcome new inquiries, call 08 8950 7600.

The AMEP is funded by the Australian Government and provides up to 510 hours of free English language lessons to eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants.

Image: Chloe Erlich

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