In the rural community of Naracoorte, SA there are approximately 200-300 male migrants living in the area. Depending on the season, these men are employed in seasonal work on vegetable farms and in the many vineyards which populate the local district and sometimes further afield. A smaller number of this same cohort are engaged in permanent employment by Teys Australia Meat Works at their processing plant. Training for both farming and meat processing work is undertaken on site. Recruitment for the Meatworks is advertised in the Naracoorte Herald, while work on the farms is often by word of mouth. Local Job Provider agencies also receive notification of vacancies.
Currently, training sessions for ‘pruning’ skills are being conducted on various vineyards around the region. Teys Australia via Regional Workforce Management (RWM) conduct 4 day induction courses at various times throughout the year. Upon completion of this training, these workers qualify for a Certificate II in Meat processing. The current manager of Regional Workforce Management, a former Afghan migrant, speaks several languages so there is an element of cultural competency in the workplace.
The small number of female permanent resident arrivals in Naracoorte are usually partners of migrants. These women have school age and smaller children and find it difficult to find work that accommodates their family responsibilities. However, some have started on the journey towards economic participation and volunteering in the community. The Naracoorte Migrant Resource Centre facilitates Conversational English classes run by highly skilled volunteers, most of whom are former teachers, including an ESL teacher. Female participants gain English skills and confidence to attain drivers licences and undergo TAFE courses. The MRC also publicises a network of employers and assists clients to prepare for job opportunities. Clients who attend the Conversational English classes have often expressed to their job provider agencies that the classes have been helpful in improving their English language skills, resulting in agencies now contacting the Naracoorte MRC Multicultural Community Service Coordinator, Ms Jenny Stirling, to ask whether they are able to refer other clients to attend.
Afghani women, who are members of the Naracoorte MRC Conversational English Classes.