Programme helps boost employability

Wellington based Multicultural Learning and Support Services (Mclass) has developed a programme to help new migrants and refugees gain short work experience placements.

The six-month programme for general employment provides for placements for learners to practice in actual work situations the skills they learn in the classroom.

The Centre however does not guarantee employment, which would depend on the individual’s aptitude and other qualifications for the job and the choice of the employers concerned.

But tutors support learners in these placements. They visit and observe them and later incorporate what they have observed back in the classroom.

Each half-year course will focus on a different group of employment possibilities. ESOL programme coordinator Kim Paterson said the focus during the first half of this year is on the language useful to people working as cleaners and kitchen hands.

“For kitchen hands, for example, we will be trying to find work opportunities in fast food places that have a structured process of how to do things and what needs to be done when,” she said.

According to Ms Paterson, the training programme is consistent, repetitive and therefore, easier for learners to follow.

The courses give teachers an understanding of some of the challenges learners might face in real-life work environments, allowing them to bring students back into the classroom to address any existing gaps in their communication and comprehensive skills.

In the second half of the year, the programme will focus on jobs that involve gardening and tasks involving heavy duty.

Ms Paterson said many students grew their own food or worked in farms in their home countries, and hence could use skills already acquired.

Increasing aptitude

“They are already dealing with so much learning – a new country, a new culture, a new language. Why not build on what they already know how to do?”

Each learner is assigned to a job facilitator at Mclass, who will provide them with on-going support and assistance.

Working closely with Mclass teachers, job facilitators visit classrooms to advise students on employment procedures. These would include guidance on how to dress for an interview, the interview process, and information on KiwiSaver.

Ms Paterson said these sessions would be supported by tutor-led sessions on how to read and understand job advertisements, and the necessary components of a CV and cover letter.

She reiterated that the organisation was not guaranteeing any jobs immediately.

“But we will make our learners more employable by teaching them really practical strategies and workplace-relevant language and by helping them understand what to expect when they get a job in New Zealand,” she said.

Source: Multicultural Learning and Support Services

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