The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) has been the cornerstone of English language assistance for generations of migrants to Australia, providing language education and aiding new arrivals in their settlement journey. Now more than ever before, English language skills are vital in ensuring migrants can successfully participate in Australian economic and social life.
This paper provides important context for the foundational changes to the AMEP, including expanding eligibility to all permanent migrants and citizens requiring English language support, relaxing the timeframe in which people can access this support, and making digital learning more accessible.
Whether recently arrived or resident for years, people with poor English will face additional barriers to full engagement in society and struggle to find work in an unforgiving post-COVID-19 labour market.
The report plots a reimagined and improved way forward for English language policy and programming. Building on the AMEP’s newfound flexibility, the report outlines how to create a more tailored and outcomes-driven program, which supports people on their full settlement journey, and allows them to adapt their English learning to the places in which they live and work.
Key recommendations include:
- promoting locally coordinated approaches to language learning, including through ‘local coordinators’
- delivery of English language training on work sites and aligned to local employment contexts
- expand the delivery of conversational, entry-level English language support in flexible environments, including co-located child-care
- re-orienting AMEP to a settlement-first approach, where English language learning is integrated with settlement support, and ‘Pathways Counsellors’ to help guide people with what comes after the AMEP
- the introduction of a licensing or accreditation arrangements that encourage specialist, flexible and sustained, high-performance service provision