Refugee immigrants: addressing social exclusion by promoting agency in the Australian VET sector

30 Apr 2014

Refugee immigrants' past traumatic personal histories as well as their present social exclusion experiences are likely to adversely affect their exercise of personal agency and resettlement in Australia. Efforts to improve their capability to exercise agency and resettlement should be premised on social structural affordances and environments that support their participation and contribution to Australian society. One way that these supportive affordances could be created is through refugee immigrants' improved access to and meaningful engagement with the Australian vocational education and training (VET) sector and its technical and further education (TAFE) institutes. This paper identifies significant agentic factors associated with refugee immigrants' past personal histories as well as social exclusion experiences linked to their present resettlement, and explores ways that the VET sector and publicly funded TAFE institutes could address these issues. In conclusion, a set of recommendations are provided as guidelines on how the VET sector and TAFE institutes could address personal agency and social exclusion challenges for refugee immigrants in Australia.

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