Putting Language In Place: Improving the Adult Migrant English Program



Putting language in place cover

Putting Language In Place: Improving the Adult Migrant English Program is a report from the Centre for Policy Development’s Cities and Settlement Initiative on reforms to the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) to improve the economic participation of refugees in Australia.

Putting Language in Place – the AMEP

The AMEP has been the cornerstone of English language assistance for generations of migrants to Australia, providing language education and aiding new arrivals in their settlement journey. Now more than ever before, English language skills are vital in ensuring migrants can successfully participate in Australian economic and social life.

Putting Language In Place provides important context for the foundational changes to the AMEP announced by Minister Alan Tudge in his National Press Club Address, including expanding eligibility to all permanent migrants and citizens requiring English language support, relaxing the timeframe in which people can access this support, and making digital learning more accessible. 

English education and the labour market in Putting Language in Place

Whether recently arrived or resident for years, people with poor English will face additional barriers to full engagement in society and struggle to find work in an unforgiving post-COVID-19 labour market.

Recommendations from Putting Language in Place

The report plots a reimagined and improved way forward for English language policy and programming. Building on the AMEP’s newfound flexibility, the report outlines how to create a more tailored and outcomes-driven program, which supports people on their full settlement journey, and allows them to adapt their English learning to the places in which they live and work. Key recommendations include:

  • promoting locally coordinated approaches to language learning, including through ‘local coordinators’
  • delivery of English language training on work sites and aligned to local employment contexts
  • expand the delivery of conversational, entry-level English language support in flexible environments, including co-located child-care
  • re-orienting AMEP to a settlement-first approach, where English language learning is integrated with settlement support, and ‘Pathways Counsellors’ to help guide people with what comes after the AMEP
  • the introduction of a licensing or accreditation arrangements that encourage specialist, flexible and sustained, high-performance service provision

Acknowledgements for Putting Language in Place

Putting Language In Place was produced as part of Centre for Policy Development’s Cities and Settlement Initiativeand it complements CPD’s work supporting transitions to employment for people facing disadvantage in the labour market. CPD have been working with colleagues across the sector for over two years on ensuring English language assistance, and specifically a reinvigorated AMEP, more effectively supports economic and social participation for migrants.

We are grateful to everyone who contributed their time and insights to this report, not least to Henry Sherrell, the report’s lead author.

Download Putting Language In Place

For new migrants to Australia, speaking English is more important than ever before. Participation in social and economic life
rests on the ability to communicate with others.