Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)
The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) was established in 1948 and was legislated under the Immigration (Education) Act 1971. The AMEP is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. It provides up to 510 hours of English language tuition for eligible new, adult migrants and refugees to help them learn foundation English language and settlement skills.
The AMEP has important links with other Australian Government and state programs and services. For example, the Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) program assists refugees with early, practical settlement into the Australian community. TAFE NSW works with other stakeholders to assist AMEP students to settle in the community. The AMEP is not a mandatory program. TAFE NSW plays an important role in promoting the value of the program to students and the community.
The program supports the development of knowledge and skills that significantly improves the lives of students by providing pathways to greater social participation, employment, further study and training.
There are two AMEP sub-programs, which enable students to apply for additional hours. For example, students who have a good record of attendance and language gains can apply for up to 490 hours as part of AMEP Extend. Students who are job ready and wish to gain vocational skills can apply to the Settlement Language Pathways to Employment and Training (SLPET). These courses offer up to 200 additional hours.
Volunteer Tutor PROGRAM (VTP)
The Volunteer Tutor Scheme is a program in which volunteers provide English language tuition and practice for 1-2 hours per week to migrants and refugees who are eligible for the AMEP. The one-to-one lessons can be at the students’ Volunteers or in other suitable locations such as libraries. TAFE NSW recruits, trains and matches tutors to students.
Considerations on becoming a Volunteer Tutor
- Volunteer Tutors do not require previous teaching experience. They require fluency in all aspects of the English language. For example, Volunteer Tutors may be required to assist their students to read bills or their children’s school newsletter.
- Enthusiasm and a positive attitude is highly regarded as this can be a motivating influence on students. Students can pick up whether you are committed or not to your role as a tutor.
- Non-judgemental and empathetic to the needs of migrants and refugees.
- Volunteer Tutors need to commit to 1 to 2 hours per week for at least 6 months. This allows sufficient time for tutors to build rapport with their student and for the student to have continuity in their learning.
- Volunteer Tutors need to be flexible. Tutors may need to change their plans to respond to changing needs of students whether it be in what needs to be covered in a session or whether it be to reschedule a session.
- Volunteer Tutors need to be self-confident as they work autonomously. The training provided and support from the Volunteer Tutor Coordinator will assist in building confidence in meeting student needs.
Training to be an AMEP Volunteer Tutor
Volunteer Tutors will be trained using an online resource A Course in Volunteer English Language Tutoring. The training course is designed to be the equivalent of a minimum of 15 hours face to face. The course is divided into 3 sections: Being a Volunteer Tutor, Language Skills and Your Student. There are tasks to develop tutors’ cross-cultural awareness. Quizzes are also included in each component with answers provided to help you review what is covered. Course content also guide tutors in assisting students with their settlement needs. An incentive to complete the course as soon as possible is that Volunteer Tutors can only be matched after completing the course.
All AMEP students at TAFE NSW have access to World Wide English and Living in Australia. Both of these are online resources that are also available for Volunteer Tutors to use with their students. There are two interactive online English resources living in Australia and World Wide English, which can also be accessed with an accompanying App that Volunteer Tutors may find particularly useful. In addition, there are free resources available on the Department of Education and Training page at https://www.education.gov.au/AMEPDL
Ongoing training and support
The Volunteer Tutor Scheme Coordinator will provide volunteer tutors with regular communication, support and training updates as required. TAFE values all volunteer tutors’ contribution to the program, we will continue to assist and support you with your work as a Volunteer Tutor.