New residents who have migrated to the Blue Mountains and Central West regions from Cambodia, India and China are accessing a unique program to learn English, find employment and adapt to their new lifestyle.
Lithgow TAFE delivers the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) to migrants to assist with their transition to Australian life.
The AMEP provides up to 510 hours of free English lessons and childcare to newly arrived eligible migrants and refugees.
Bon Nging is one of the new Australians who migrated to Australia in 2016, and one of the many that have benefited from the AMEP at TAFE NSW.
"I made the move from Cambodia to Australia to join my family who were already living in the Blue Mountains," Mr Nging said.
"I really needed to improve my reading, writing and spelling in order to communicate with Australian people better, that's why I chose to enrol in the AMEP at TAFE in Lithgow.
"TAFE teachers are so encouraging and supportive. The AMEP gave me the confidence to face everyday challenges and create a better life for my family in Australia."
After improving his English language skills at TAFE NSW, Mr Nging has set up a removalist business in Katoomba where he works locally and interstate.
"I'd really recommend the AMEP to others in my position as my class felt like one big family. Everyone supported each other, I enjoyed every lesson and have made great friendships," Mr Nging said.
"I'm really happy with my new life in Australia. I wouldn't have been able to successfully run my own business and communicate with clients on a daily basis if I didn't study at TAFE."
TAFE NSW Lithgow English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher, Nicola Connon, said the AMEP program helped students learn vital skills that most of us took for granted.
"Learning how to open a bank account, access healthcare, find work and further study, listening, reading and writing skills, as well as learning about Australian society and culture are just some of the everyday skills students learn," she said.
"Bon is the perfect example of how the AMEP is helping to change the lives of many people by providing students with access to the skills to be job-ready."
The AMEP Program is funded by the Australian Government.