STEPS connects new Australians to language and community

For Rachel Christo, the high points of her job are when she realises how much a student has learnt.

Those moments happen when she’s talking with a student and suddenly realises that she’s having a conversation with someone who, only a few months ago, didn’t have the skill level to do just that.

Rachel is a Student Support Officer at STEPS Education and Training in Casuarina, working with students studying in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).

“My favourite part of the job is seeing students improve their English skills, it’s amazing seeing our students progress,” Rachel said.

“When their English skills grow, you can really see their confidence grow as well,” she said.

Rachel has been in her role for two years and said before she applied for the job, she knew she wanted to work at STEPS and help support new Australians as they begin their learning journey.

“I saw that the organisation was non-profit and that fit with me, I’m passionate about community and giving back,” Rachel said.

“The work at AMEP is close to my heart because the program not only provides free English lessons but provides support to people new to Australia.

“I love to be able to give students support as they build their new life in Australia,” she said.

Rachel said the valuable thing she takes away from her work is the strength the students have.

“One thing I take away is the resilience that many students have, some have experienced trauma and extreme difficulties and then had to start a new life in Australia,” Rachel said.

“It’s just inspiring to see students continue to grow and work hard at building a life here,” she said.

Rachel is always busy but that’s just the way she likes it.

Her door is always open to student staff and volunteers.

“I feel blessed being a Student Support Officer at STEPS, I love working with our students and our staff and I’ve learnt a lot,” Rachel said.

Rachel said it was not unusual to see a group of students lined up outside the office waiting to have a chat.

“Obviously supporting students is number one in my role: talking to students about classes, their goals and work and offering support wherever I can,” Rachel said

“No two days are the same here, and I think that’s why I enjoy my role.

“It’s always busy and there is always something happening,” she said.

If you would like to start your learning journey and further build your English language skills, STEPS AMEP can help. We have classes in Casuarina, Palmerston and Alice Springs. Call 1300 585 868 to find out more about classes in Casuarina and Palmerston and 08 8950 7600 for classes in Alice Springs.

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.

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AMEP student Yan LiStudent Support Officer Rachel Christo with students