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Young migrant secures apprenticeship through NMIT program

01 Oct 2010

When Biniyam Woldegirgis left Eritrea for Australia at the age of 16, he spoke no English and only had a primary school education. Just three years later he's working as an apprentice furniture maker in Abbotsford.

Thanks to the education pathways available through NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) and particularly the NMIT Youth Unit's Young Adult Migration Education (YAMEC) course, Biniyam, now 19, was able to get the job he wanted. “I like to work with wood. I love making things. At YAMEC they helped me a lot to learn the language and even with the clothes I need for my work,” he says.

YAMEC is designed to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of young migrants who have interrupted or incomplete education. Each student is supported by a Managed Individual Pathways worker who can assist with finding housing, using public transport, paying bills and citizenship tests.

In 2009 Biniyam completed the Certificate I and II in Spoken and Written English at NMIT before moving on to the new YAMEC VCAL Introduction to Trades Skills course at the Institute's newly opened Heidelberg Technical Education Centre. The course has had a 100 per cent success rate in moving students into pre-apprenticeships.

After completing the Introduction to Trades Skills, Biniyam continued on to NMIT's Certificate II in Furniture Making and completed a work experience placement. Six weeks later he was offered a job at Fairmont Cabinets in Abbotsford.

His boss, director Ian Anenoglou, had been invited to NMIT to meet with students and was immediately impressed by Biniyam's work ethic. “He's good natured. He likes his work and he helps others and that's what I like,” he says. “The pre-apprenticeship course has a little bit of everything. It showed me that NMIT knew the trade.”

Biniyam, who lives in North Melbourne, says he has settled into Australian life and made a lot of friends since his arrival in 2007. “It's a good life here. I want to get more experience and keep making furniture.”


Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.

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