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New NMIT Course for Bilingual Health Workers

25 Mar 2013

A need for trained bilingual health workers to address health issues in the refugee and migrant communities has led to a unique new course at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT).

The Victorian Multicultural Commission has funded a new project for Bilingual Refugee and Migrant Health Workers, with NMIT and the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture as partners in the project. As part of the project, NMIT has developed a free,12-month training course which will begin in September at NMIT's Collingwood campus.

The aim of the course, based on the English as a Second Language (ESL) Frameworks curriculum, is to improve students' reading, writing, listening and speaking proficiency to assist them in finding employment in the health sector using their bilingual and bicultural skills, and/or to undertake further study.

Students completing the course, which involves 20 hours of study a week, will be awarded an accredited intermediate or high level Certificate III or IV in ESL. The English language skills training is designed to meet the needs in the health sector.

Work placements in health agencies in the community are a focus of the course where students will gain direct, practical experience on-the-job.

NMIT course teacher Rachel Wilson said that newly arriving refugees often had so much to offer the health sector, and there was a need in health agencies for people who are appropriately trained to provide culturally specific assistance to their communities.

She added course participants would develop the skills and knowledge to assist their communities to understand and navigate the Victorian health system and approach to health.

She said while the course was designed to enhance English language skills, the work experience students would obtain in the course would also improve their work readiness.

The course includes English language study at intermediate to high intermediate level, introduction to the health sector, modules in first aid, workplace communication, legal and ethical issues and working with diversity as well as exploring training and further study options for work in the health sector.

The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture has recently undertaken a needs analysis that highlighted bilingual health workers are needed in community health centres, hospitals and local government in roles such as administration, client access and community education.

For course inquiries: Tel NMIT: (03) 9269-1673


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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.