Women migrants who arrived in Australia as the partners of skilled visa holders are finding career pathways thanks to AMES Australia's Settlement Language Pathways to Employment and Training (SLPET) program in Mildura.
The course is also building their confidence helping them make social connections in the local community.
Samaneh Tavakilinika came to Australia a year ago with her husband and two kids. Originally from Iran, the family spent six years in Singapore before arriving in Australia.
Samaneh's husband has a PhD in Chemistry and works with an agricultural company in Mildura. She has a Master's Degree in Microbiology but initially struggled to find work in Australia.
Samaneh enrolled in the SLPET course run by AMES in Mildura and her teacher Albi Dinker organised a work placement with Sunraysia Orthodontics as part of the course.
This led to Samaneh being offered a job as dental assistant at a local clinic and she is now on her career pathway through training in the workplace.
“AMES has been my pathway to interacting with more people and the community here. And the SLPET course showed me how to use my skills better and it gave me confidence," she said.
Samaneh is undergoing a skills assessment of her microbiology degree with the help of Albi and the AMES team.
“Life is good in Australia. It's a good place for my children. We have settled here very quickly, I didn't think it would be so fast," she said.
Heba Ahmed is a pharmacist from Egypt and enrolling in the AMES SLPET course led to a work placement with Terry White Chemist in Mildura.
“Training at Terry White gave me confidence. At first I was very confused but day after day I improved," Heba said.
“The experience led to a job at MyChemist and now I'm familiar with most things and I will be doing more training in the Pharmacy.
“My teacher Albi is helping me with my pharmacy skills assessment. I have two exams ahead of me and then a year as a trainee pharmacist.
“AMES, the SLPET course and my teacher Albi were very critical to me re-establishing my career.
“Albi came to visit me on my placement to see how I was going and she came with me on my first day of work to introduce me to everyone."
Heba works two days a week but will increase this next year when her youngest son starts school. Her husband is also a pharmacist and works a local pharmacy which sponsored his visa.
“I can see a life for me here now. When I first arrived I was unsure and afraid because everything was different. Now I am so glad we came here," she said.
Teacher Albi Dinkar says Heba's level of confidence has grown rapidly.
“When she first arrived, she was very shy and reluctant to speak. Through the SLPET program she is now much more able to interact with people in the wider community," Albi said.
SLPET is an Australia-wide, federal government funded program targeted at recently arrived migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds with the aim of assisting them to improve their English proficiency whilst giving them exposure to Australian workplace cultures and practices.