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AMEP student moves on to work and buying a home in Australia

14 September 2020

The following article is by former AMEP student, Hiba Faraj and tells her life before and after enrolling in the AMEP course.


My name is Hiba Faraj, I come from Iraq and am married with 2 daughters.
My brothers and I became orphaned when our parents were killed in the Isis war.  That was a very black day for me. I quickly became responsible for caring for my brothers after this and left Iraq for Turkey due to the persecution of Christians in our home country.

In Turkey I worked in a restaurant and learnt the Turkish language and all facets of the restaurant trade, including cooking. This meant that life became better because I could now contribute to the household expenses.
The Australian government then accepted us as refugees and after 3 years we arrived in Australia. It was a huge relief when we landed.

I then started studying at Victoria University where I first heard about Djerriwarrh’s free AMEP class from a fellow classmate.
I enquired about the course and then began my study in Susan’s class at Djerriwarrh in 2018. I found her to be a very friendly and approachable teacher and after 2 terms I was ready to enrol in the SLPET Course.  The SLPET course is a part of AMEP and is all about learning the English needed for working in Australia.

I found the class environment to be incredibly supportive not only from staff but fellow students. My teacher Chris in the SLPET class was able to help me in obtaining my food handling certificate which accompanied my past work experience well. She was also able to  assist me in getting my police check and a whole range of skills that helped me become work ready at the end of my course.

Although my English is not perfect with my previous cooking experience and help from Erica at Djerriwarrh Community & Education Services, I had the confidence to work at the Melton Christian College. Here I work in the Food Technology class where I communicate with students in Year 7 through to year 12. I also work with catering for functions at the school.

I wouldn’t have been able to make the successful step into employment if it wasn’t for the staff at Djerriwarrh Community & Education Services. I would also like to thank the Australian Government and everyone who has helped me start a new life here in Australia.

My husband and I have now purchased a house in Caroline Springs where we plan to live for years to come. I cannot recommend the SLPET course enough to fellow new arrivals looking to study.