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Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

The NSW Government and local organisations have partnered to give members of Armidale’s Ezidi refugee community a helping hand to develop in-demand civil construction skills as part of a unique Pathways to Employment Program.

Transport for NSW and TAFE NSW partnered with not-for-profit organisation P&G Purpose, Rotary NSW and Armidale Regional Council to showcase potential career opportunities for Ezidi refugees as part of the first-of-its kind initiative.

As part of a five-day program completed this week, TAFE NSW delivered hands-on training in the safe operation of loaders and excavators, providing participants with a taste of the Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operation.

The Transport for NSW team also hosted a tour of their Armidale depot to highlight the day-to-day operations in a civil construction environment, with members from the Regional Entry Level Programs team conducting a training session which focused on how to apply for public sector jobs, create an outstanding resume and take part in a successful interview.

By providing this practical learning opportunity, Transport for NSW and TAFE NSW are ensuring participants are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to secure employment within the local community.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Aitchison said it’s great to see the Ezidi refugees settling into a regional community like Armidale and developing new skills as part of this innovative partnership.

“I’d especially like to thank the Rotary Club of Armidale who have been so instrumental in welcoming and assisting the Ezidi refugees since they resettled in the Armidale region in 2018.”

“The Rotarians have helped the Ezidis to connect with training and employment opportunities, but most importantly, in making them feel welcomed and a vital part of this great regional community.” 

Rotary Club of Armidale member Peter Lloyd said this program is designed to highlight the opportunities which may be available within an industry they are already familiar with, as many of the Ezidi people come from a rural background.

“This pilot program demonstrates what can be achieved in regional NSW with collaboration and cooperation and is something that will ultimately have a positive impact on the Ezidi community.

Khalaf, an Ezidi refugee who has been living in Armidale for about five years, participated in the program.

“The program is about helping us to learn how to use the machines, and helping us to apply for jobs, too,” Khalaf said.

“My favourite part of the week has been using the excavator. I’m getting good at it.”

Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Steve Whan said that with some training, refugees can be incredibly valuable in helping to overcome skills shortages.

“Civil construction workers play a critical role in building the future of communities like Armidale, so it’s great to see TAFE NSW delivering these skills to members of the Ezidi refugee community that will enable them to make a valuable contribution to the growth of their community.”

“Communities like Armidale will also benefit from the recently signed National Skills Agreement between the Commonwealth and NSW Government, it will help us to rebuild TAFE and put it at the heart of vocational education and training in country communities.” 

Transport for NSW Director Maintenance and Delivery John Soars said they did more than just deliver practical training, with a dedicated team on site to assist with the theory side of things which come with any job application.

“Transport for NSW is proud to be a part of this important community outreach program to help the Ezidi community learn about entry level opportunities within the public sector.”

The program is in addition to TAFE NSW initiatives and a UNE program also designed to help Ezidi refugees learn and find work.

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