Innovative engineering program creates new future for Nay Thar

A new engineering program tailored to young refugees in Bendigo is changing the lives of graduates.

Recent graduate Nay Thar knew he wanted to work in the engineering field when he joined the Bendigo TAFE program.

The 37-year-old refugee from Thailand had previously studied welding, so studying a Certificate II in Engineering was the ideal opportunity to enhance his skills.

He’s now one of 12 graduates and landed an apprenticeship at Central Victorian Welding and Fabrication.

Left to Right: Samantha Best, MatchWorks, Sylvia Phan, Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, Silvia Moo, MatchWorks with Nay Thar, his wife, La Ka Paw and Paul Costigan, MatchWorks.

“I wanted to get more education to get a good job for my future career,” Nay Thar said.

“Then I got an opportunity to get started the Certificate II Engineering course.

“I feel so excited to get this opportunity because this is my dream job.”

Recent graduate Nay Thar has started his “dream job”.

Addressing skills shortage and creating opportunities

MatchWorks was one of six Bendigo organisations to partner in the delivery of this initiative. In addition to helping address a skill shortage in the local manufacturing sector, the program has also created new skills and career opportunities for locals who speak another language.

“We have a growing number of refugees moving to the Bendigo region, so the bilingual component to the studies was an enormous asset to the students throughout the program,” Sylvia Phan from Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services said.

“The program has been very successful and half of the students have already been placed since graduating just before Christmas. The rest are either currently interviewing for apprenticeships to start in February or commencing further studies this year.”

Bilingual support

Graduates from the Certificate II in Engineering Studies

In addition to building technical engineering skills, this innovative program also enabled students to:

  • Visit industries to see the career connections and pathways linked to engineering.
  • Access bilingual support and pre-teaching to raise understanding of the content.
  • Tap into onsite support including assistance to move to remote learning.

MatchWorks Bendigo Site Manager, Paul Costigan, said MatchWorks was proud to be part of an initiative supporting local refugees to reach their potential.

“This is the first time a bilingual component has been integrated into studies and we’re hopeful the success of this program will create opportunities in additional study areas for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities,” he said.

The program has opened the door to a new future for Nay Thar, who expressed his gratitude to the teachers, interpreters, employment teams and local government services for their support.

“I would like to thank you all who support people like us none English background… you work hard for us and understand us. You gave me an opportunity and helping hand to make a brand new start.”

The bilingual component of the Certificate II in Engineering Studies at Bendigo TAFE has been funded by the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, with additional resources and funding provided by the following partner organisations: Skills and Job Centre and Engineering at Bendigo TAFE, Bendigo Senior Secondary College, MatchWorks, Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, People Plus and the City of Greater Bendigo.