'Hey Siri, it's time to learn E-n-g-l-i-s-h'
How do you know your English is improving in the 21st century? For Tang Kuoy Yem, a certain voice-controlled mobile assistant is her gauge.
“Before, when I talked to Siri, it couldn’t understand all my words,” she said. “But now when I can talk, it understands everything.”
Tang Kuoy, 26, has been attending the Adult Migrant English Program at the Navitas English Cabramatta College for the past three months. Last week the program celebrated its 70th anniversary of delivering English classes to thousands of migrants and enabling them to integrate into the wider community. The celebration included student presentations and entertainment.
Tang Kuoy knows firsthand the importance of learning English as a way to connect in the community. When she arrived in Australia from Cambodia in 2014 she had limited English. “Before, I didn’t know how to talk to people . . I tried to sing . . . it was hard,” she said.
“Now I’m more confident I can speak the language and connect with people. “I learnt a little bit from my friends but I decided to study to learn more and it’s improved.”
The Hoxton Park resident attends the program four days a week learning about vocabulary, writing, and listening. She has even nailed the pronunciation of vocabulary – something she struggled with early on. The next task is improving her writing. “I really enjoy learning,” she said. “It’s good because when I watch movies on Netflix and listen to music it’s all in English so it’s a good way to learn.”
As part of AMEP’s birthday celebrations – which included a visit from Navitas’s Director of Government Program Jetinder MacFarlane – current students from the college interviewed alumni students about their journey through the program.
Alumni student Paul Zhi completed his 510 hours of AMEP English classes before doing a customer service course at Navitas. He now works for Navitas.
(originally published in Fairfield City Champion, Sydney on 28 Nov 2018)
Navitas English is contracted by Australian government agencies to deliver programs that help students from diverse backgrounds to improve their English language and employability skills.
Since 1988, Navitas English has been delivering the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) to migrants and refugees on behalf of the Australian Government, and in 2010 successfully tendered to deliver the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program to jobseekers with language, literacy and numeracy barriers to employment and career pathways. The AMEP is delivered through colleges in South Western Sydney and the ACT, while the SEE program is delivered from sites across metropolitan Sydney.
Along with these major programs, the Navitas English team continues to deliver and tender for other vital programs in areas such as youth employment and career pathways.