Case Study: The Hunter Connection - Getting Ethnic Communities
Steve Georgopoulos, Hunter Institute of Technology, TAFE.
This paper is a snap shot report of a rural strategy and a
learning in process, getting ethnic commumities online in the
Hunter. The English for Specific Purpose courses started in Semester
2 July 1997, and will be completed by end November 1997. It is
hoped that the Hunter Migrant Resource Centre Newcastle will
have its website ready by the end of the year.
Hunter Institute of Technology is situated 160 km north of
Sydney and comprises 16 campuses which serve a catchment area
with 750 000 people. The Institue's facilities are used by 47
600 students of whom over 2 000 are of non-English Speaking Background.
The ethnic communities are scattered in small pockets across
HIT's catchment area. The further from the centre of Hunter's
cultural diversity - Newcastle, the more the feelings associated
with alienation arise due to the demographic isolation and the
less services there are that address specific ethnic community
When the big Australian - BHP, announced the retrenchment
of over 2 500 jobs (with an estimated extra 12 000 jobs lost
as a roll-on effect) at the Newcastle Steel Works the news was
felt across the country. It was a clear sign that the Industrial
Era and its jobs has ended. Many of these workers are of NESB
and they will have to look for new jobs without the required
English language proficiency and now, the required computer literacy.
This paper addresses HIT's strategic response to the local
ethnic communities' need for English language and vocational
skills for the Information Age. All jobs now require English
language skills and some computer literacy. The Paper will discuss
the courses conducted at 3 different areas with each having unique
demographic and training needs - Central Coast, Newcastle and
The courses all involve the English for Specific Purposes
model of delivery in Computer Skills. Some case studies of the
interactions that happen in a multicultural classroom that is
learning multimedia while also learning the English required
for Cyberia, will also be presented.
The issues concerning access to the hardware of information/communications
technology for the community after TAFE training were also discussed.