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A special event at TAFE Queensland Toowoomba marks 75 years of the AMEP

Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) students, teachers and invited guests gathered at TAFE Queensland’s Toowoomba campus to celebrate 75 years of the program’s impact and rich history of education in the community recently.

The formal event included speeches from TAFE Queensland team members and teachers, testimonials from students, plus a performance of The Seekers’ ‘I am Australian’ by the AMEP Youth Choir and an original composition and dancing by Sudanese students.

TAFE Queensland Regional Director - Foundation, Language Skills, Anne Smith, said the event was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past, while reinforcing the value of the program into the future.

“Following the end of the Second World War, the Australian Government introduced the program in 1948 to cater for refugees and migrants fleeing countries ravaged by global conflict,” said Ms Smith.

“In the 75 years since the program’s inception, over two million people have developed their capacity with English via AMEP across the country, assisting them to live and work here in Australia.”

“During our event, it was great to hear directly from students about how the program has benefitted them and their families, and to witness firsthand the friendships and connections that have evolved from their participation.”

AMEP student and Sudanese refugee, Elizabeth Kureng, shared with event attendees that learning English has been foundational to her life in Toowoomba.

“It’s the key that unlocks access to society in Australia, to further education and to employment," Elizabeth said.

TAFE Queensland AMEP Teacher, June Zhao, believed the anniversary was an opportunity to highlight the broader benefits of learning English for the program’s participants.

“Today is not just about cutting a cake, it’s about slicing through barriers, breaking down walls, and savouring the sweet taste of success that each student has achieved in his or her remarkable journey,” she said.

Leading up to the day, AMEP students spent hours creating hundreds of coloured hands from cardboard and wooden chopsticks, representing the colours of many cultures.

Students in the five youth classes planted the hands in a grass courtyard area on the morning of the anniversary celebration, creating large letters and numbers representing AMEP 75.

As a provider of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), TAFE Queensland delivers critical language support to migrants and refugees with limited English language skills. The program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. In Queensland, the AMEP is delivered by TAFE Queensland.