Language Programs Breaking Barriers For Migrant Families

A pilot program to help migrant families move to regional Victoria and build their language skills is making its mark on the community, thanks to support from the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes visited Hamilton today to meet some of the families involved in the Great South Coast Economic Migration pilot program – which supports families currently living in metropolitan Melbourne to live and work regionally, as they did in their African countries of origin.

The program was supported by $162,000 from the Labor Government’s Regional Skills Fund and the Stronger Regional Communities Program, and includes a Language Café for adults, and a Tutoring Café for youth, to learn and improve their English so they can better integrate into the community.

Each migrant family in the program is also matched with a local family to build connections with the community and local services as well as extra English language assistance.

Since it began last year, the program has created over 50 new partnerships across the region – and it is estimated that almost 50 people will relocate to the Great South Coast once the pilot is complete at the end of 2019.

The program plays an important role in setting migrant families up for success in regional Victoria by giving them the support they need to integrate into the community and find employment in areas where there are skills gaps and shortages.

Alongside the support from the Labor Government, the program is being delivered by Leadership Great South Coast, the iGen Foundation and the Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development in partnership with Southern Grampians Shire Council and Glenelg Shire Council – and is strongly supported by community groups and local volunteers.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes

“We want to encourage more families to move to regional Victoria – and this innovative program makes sure the right support systems are in place to help migrants integrate, build connections and contribute to their new community.”

“We’re proud that this program is connecting skilled migrants to jobs with skill and labour gaps across the region – so the whole region can benefit from its new residents.”